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Fashion Friday: COVID-19 drives digitalisation of fashion brands in Eastern Europe

By Guest Contributor

2 Jul 2021

Business

Image: Anete Lusina via Pexels

This month’s Fashion Friday podcast series by Euromonitor International analyses the impact of digitalisation of fashion brands in Eastern Europe.

Digitalisation became a part of Eastern European fashion brands’ strategy a few years back, however, the impact of the pandemic forced the further development of the trend. Due to COVID-19 restrictions such as remote work, lockdown and travel restrictions, consumers were forced to spend more time at home, thus more time online. General panic of getting infected reduced visits to stores and led to consumers searching for options to get their orders delivered straight to their home. The majority of the clothing stores in Eastern Europe were closed for months and once reopened the footfall was limited. Under these conditions, e-commerce has become a convenient way for buying clothing and footwear thus for fashion brands to strengthen their position.

Apparel and footwear was already the industry with one of the highest penetrations of e-commerce, which the pandemic further strengthened. In 2019, e-commerce penetration in the apparel and footwear market was 13 percent, and by 2020 the share of e-commerce increased to 20 percent. Overall, the channel increased by 32 percent RSP US$ value.

The pandemic also showed a huge potential for online retailers to enter the market. AboutYou successfully started their business in more Eastern European countries including Hungary, Lithuania and Romania. The retailer launched a massive marketing campaign, which made it difficult not to be heard of. They began collaborating with local influencers, who actively promoted their brands. The importance of influencers in the promotion process has significantly grown over the past years in all markets in the region. It’s worth mentioning, however, that Eastern European consumers are still price-sensitive and deals seekers. Most of the times, influencers provide discount codes to all the fashion brands they are promoting, which is extremely appealing for consumers. Additionally, apparel and footwear brands' presence on social media platforms of brands is a must, as this is where their targeted customers spent most of their time.

Written and created for FashionUnited by Euromonitor. Explore more fashion-related podcasts by .Euromonitor here