Post-Covid recovery: “revenge” is the key word

To stand up and get back to normal again. The fashion system is supposed to tackle post- Covid hard instability: while dealing with it, they must strive to take back the ground they have lost and face the urgency, at times, to explore new development areas

The key word, which has been spreading, in the last few months, around webinars, analysis and financial statements issued by fashion brands, is revenge. Revenge shopping. Revenge travel. Revenge at all levels and in all sectors. Such revenge sounds more like an “adrenaline revenge” rather than a “military vengeance” after the upsetting crisis caused by Covid outbreak. After all, this is going to be the primary goal: rather than “bringing things back as they used to be before”, they must regain the ground lost by taking on a challenge, that is, to be ready to explore new development areas.

Revenge is the key word

The concept of “revenge” may apply to several scenarios: no matter what context we choose, in all of them China is the needle of the scale anyway. Last April, the Jing Daily Krane Shares China Global Luxury index reached the highest rate ever: 333.33 points, which is considerably higher than the pre-pandemic peak (249.9 points).

Such index, designed by JingDaily, can reproduce the overall performance achieved by the luxury industry’s worldwide market and, especially, by China’s business players. Looking at these results, it turns out that Chinese luxury buyers have spent money for their luxury goods shopping as they never did in the past for fashion. Kering have been placing first, in the index ranking, for two straight months. LVMH and Capri Holdings have been competing to take the runner-up and third-best position.

Focusing our attention on revenge shopping, this is not a coincidence of course. Since they can no longer travel abroad, Chinese tourists have unleashed the whole of their obsessive passion for western luxury in the boutiques placed in their home country. How long will this trend go on?

Revenge travel: China’s unknown variable

We cannot answer such question right now. Moody’s strove to provide an answer by carrying out a recent report, according to which the outlook for global retail looks more rewarding. Yet, on the other hand, they also proved extremely prudent while considering revenge travel. In other words, this is the question: when Chinese buyers start travelling again, will planes be fully booked and will they storm luxury boutiques in Paris, London, and Milan? It is a common belief that shopping will certainly benefit from that, though, like we said earlier, Covid pandemic showed Chinese buyers the way to go shopping “in front of the house”. Revenge limits mostly depend on this unknown variable in the end.

Retail: what is going to possibly happen

Moody’s financial analysts have depicted a “large-scale improvement” for the retail industry, throughout 2021, thanks to vaccine campaigns, which have kicked off and gradually become widespread. In fact, the rating agency has revised its outlook for the retail business, which has been upgraded, from stable to positive. According to analysts’ estimates, the industry operating profit will expectedly increase by 10% to 12% throughout the current year. The sectors which were most deeply hit, last year, by the pandemic crisis, apparel among others, are the ones which are more likely to enjoy recovery. “Nevertheless, our estimated outlook might slow down again as 2022 comes closer”, pointed out Mickey Chadha, Moody’s vice-president, while speaking to Retail Dive.

Back to travelling: yes, no, how much and how long?

According to Fitch Solutions, the revenge travel period is due to go on for six months to one year. In contrast, according to Alipay North-West Europe the increase in sales and shopping will go on for many years, driven by the expansion of China’s middle class. In general, analysts agree on the fact that a considerable amount of money allocated for shopping will be spent in China anyway.

Talking about this issue, Erwan RambourgHSBC, expects that expenditure will be half split into Chinese shopping abroad and internal shopping, at the beginning; subsequently, home shopping will progressively gain ground. “Recovery will run gradually in several countries – commented Benjamin Vuchot, Chief Executive Officer of DFS Group, while speaking to Business of Fashion –. Airlines expect that international flights will be fully booked again in the next 3 to 5 years. As soon as people are free to move around the world again, luxury will be one of the first categories to benefit from that”.

Quite clearly, such restarting is not going to take place this year in Europe nor in the United States, pointed out Mario Ortelli (Ortelli & Co). In his opinion, continental travels are due to “increase remarkably” in 2022, especially in the Asia-Pacific area, while intercontinental journeys will increase again in 2023.

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