Expect ‘Post-Prohibition’-Style Outburst Next Year, Experts Say

December 21 2020 by Jessica Binns for Sourcing Journal

If the experts are reading it right, the sun might be setting on sweatpants’ moment in the spotlight.

With coronavirus vaccines arriving just as the calendar is poised to flip forward into 2021, experts well versed in all things consumer believe the Instagram generation is set to put on an unrivaled display of jet-setting, selfie-worthy bacchanalia in the year to come. From her perch as publishing director for the likes of SeventeenCosmopolitan and Women’s Health, Nancy Berger has a bird’s eye view of what young women want, and among Gen Z and millennial-age consumers, she says, pent-up demand for travel has reached at an all-time high.

And consumers who can’t wait to quit quarantine won’t be skimping on their sun-soaked, far-flung adventures, predicts Lucy Lieberman, chief marketing officer of Tablet Hotels, whose boutique properties bring travelers everywhere from Mykonos to Normandy to Amalfi to Los Angeles. Those with the means to escape from the pandemic unscathed will celebrate their emergence from Covid-19 confines by booking “over-the-top trips and stays at incredible hotels,” added Lieberman, noting that the latter six months of the year will “look like the post-Prohibition era.”

All of this spells good news for battered and embattled fashion retail, where sales have fallen off a cliff as consumers swapped suits, pencil skirts and stilettos for sneakers, leggings and loungewear. But big trips mean new outfits for a good portion of social-obsessed shoppers, bringing a glimmer of hope that the pandemic’s economic devastation might be short-lived. William Susman, managing director at business management consultant Threadstone Advisors, echoes this sentiment, noting that a massive consumer shift in spending will benefit occasion-ready garb and dressy fare, leaving pandemic-friendly categories like home and backyard-appropriate goods in the dust.

Other experts in the Retail Influencer Network, managed by Berns Communication Group, also sounded off on where consumer spending seems to be heading. First Insight CEO Greg Petro believes the work-from-home movement is here to stay, but many employees will cherish the chance to put together an outfit and make an office appearance from time to time.

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