Consumer and Buyer Trends as the World Reopens

Finally, the world is reopening, and there is a significant shift in shopping trends after more than a year of elasticized waistbands and comfy houseware. Pre-pandemic trends won’t be completely eradicated, although some new trends are here to stay.

The Covid-19 pandemic changed lives and changed dress codes. Professionals are trading trousers and pencil skirts (pencil skirt sales dropped 31% YOY.) for sweatpants and leggings, as comfort became the driving consideration for any purchase. But with vaccinations on the rise and economies beginning to reopen, will consumers embrace their old dress codes, or has the way that people think about fashion changed for good?


The word is in on brand trends, and people are looking for casualization of workwear. People are wearing fewer suits to the office and are looking for more hybrid workwear, which is stylish and comfy but can be dressed up for evenings out or events.

A survey by Amex Trendex found that 42% of adults agree that when it comes to returning to work, purchasing new clothes is one of the most important factors. And around 32% agree that when they finally return to work in the office, their clothing choices will definitely look different from before the pandemic, while 57% admit that they will rely on a comfort/work-appropriate clothing combination. 

There is also an interesting correlation between comfort and higher levels of work productivity. Consumers are making more mindful choices on what they are putting on their bodies, and comfort is undoubtedly the winner post-pandemic. It is more about how it feels and not solely about how it looks. 

Occasion Wear  

Customers are emerging from their isolation cocoons to tackle the second and hopefully easier half of 2021. Following any restrictions, consumers are ready and gearing up for the return of larger-scale events, dating, and socializing. There is so much opportunity for brands to maximize their exposure to the outdoors, partywear, festivals, and more. Brands that have successfully pivoted and promoted their brand on marketplaces are reaping the rewards.  

We’ve seen a growth of almost 500% in occasion and resort wear brands versus last year in Spring alone. 

Back to School

As the majority of Americans are returning to school in-person this fall, back-to-school shopping is quickly changing. Parents will begin their shopping as more and more schools continue to announce plans for students’ return. For many consumers, online shopping will remain a priority: 57% of consumers plan to shop online. 

And while back-to-school shopping remains in full swing, we’ve already seen a lift of over 150% in sales versus last year.

With an industry that’s growing at incredible speeds and while physical retail still struggles, it becomes more crucial for retailers to bolster digital strategies and invest in a multichannel retail plan that enables consistent digital sales growth.

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