Generations are often shaped by common experiences and major historical moments, and the COVID-19 pandemic is sure to leave an indelible mark on current and future generations for years to come. Millennials and Gen Zers who endured the global health crisis will be shaped not just by the grief, loss and financial damage they faced, but also how their behavior and online habits drastically changed. The way consumers now buy products and services is creating tectonic shifts that are greatly impacting the retail industry.
The lockdowns spurred by the pandemic cratered thousands of businesses across the U.S. and Canada, leaving a trail of bankruptcies and closures. According to a recent McKinsey report, apparel and fashion sales in particular suffered one of its worst years, as this segment of the industry endured a 90 percent plunge in profit in 2020.
COVID’s Impact on the Retail Industry
In the U.S., 10,000 stores are expected to close in 2021, and a recent study by First Insight found 60 percent of consumers don’t plan to shop for apparel in brick-and-mortar stores the same amount after being vaccinated.