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Nordstrom survey shows dramatic shift among consumer searches in post-pandemic

As the U.S. continues to reopen, consumers dramatically shift from the pre-pandemic era. And increasing numbers are looking for upgrading their wardrobe.

A recent survey by US department store chain Nordstrom found that a staggering 165% surge in customer searches for “work clothes” on its e-commerce site in the past few months.

Nordstrom-survey-consumer-shift-searches-post-pandemic
Figure 1: For brands and retailers, this new consumer outlook will benefit determine the path and pace of the industry’s recovery.

Nordstrom recently surveyed 2,000 people in the USA to see how COVID has affected their fashion picks as they begin to plan for life post-pandemic.

The results clearly show that people are feeling rusty returning to social settings. At the same time, comfort and suitability played big roles in the way people dressed during the pandemic, a torrent of other aspects is posing new wardrobe barriers.

More than one-quarter said their style reformed during the pandemic. While 26% of people say they no longer bother about keeping up with trends, 35% say they are more open to trying new styles, Nordstrom reported.

Nordstrom reported that 45% of customers say they ‘struggle to find clothes that are flattering for their body type” and 43 percent “struggle to find clothes that fit.’

Overall, Nordstrom’s research found that most people feel like they need an entirely new wardrobe coming out of the COVID and that they are looking for styling direction when it comes to dressing for social occasions. 35 35% of consumers say they feel bored with the current clothes they own and 25% say their garments feel obsolete. Meanwhile, 40% feel they ‘feel stuck in their style.’

With 1 in 5 consumers said sweatpants, yoga pants, or leggings as ‘their most treasured item’ in the pandemic, and nearly 1 in 4 said T-shirts their everyday wear in lockdowns. While 1 in 3 consumers say they feel stuck in a ‘style limbo.’

Nordstrom-consumer-search
Figure 2: Nordstrom survey aspects.

The denim section is already feeling this sense of experimentation. Executives from category leaders like Levi’s and American Eagle have stated rising attention in looser fits. Concurrently, Gen Z’s so-called takedown of skinny jeans played out on TikTok earlier this year.

It is no surprise in this Gen Z era, that social media remains a great source of fashion inspiration for 30% of consumers surveyed by Nordstrom. Social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok are known to stir up party, footwear, wedding and travel style trends.

However, office fashion is more challenging with 20% of consumers said needed aid finding looks for work.

Work wardrobes are certainly ripe for a refresh—36% of people say they have not bought new work clothing since before the pandemic. For those planning to return to an office this fall, many are excited to get out of their “comfort” zone and 28% say yes to dress pants, while 28% said dress shirts and 26% said dresses.

With offices reopening, people are in search of appropriate attire in a new post-pandemic world, particularly as many companies change into a hybrid home/office model.

It is no surprise in this Gen Z era, that social media remains a great source of fashion inspiration for 30% of consumers surveyed by Nordstrom.

Work-leisure is certain to resound with comfort-longing consumers.  Nordstrom reported that 41% of consumers say that post-pandemic they plan to ‘dress comfortably for the rest of their life.’

For brands and retailers, this new consumer outlook will benefit determine the path and pace of the industry’s recovery, so it is important they are able to aid shoppers navigate this new world — and, of course, how to dress for it.

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