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Disruption in the Hong Kong Fashion Market

By Guest Contributor


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This month’s Fashion Friday podcast series by Euromonitor International examines two key trends that have emerged in the highly disruptive Hong Kong fashion market.

As the apparel and footwear market in Hong Kong has been severely disrupted by COVID-19 from the loss of inbound tourists this year, given its discretionary goods nature, this market has proven to be the hardest hit amongst the FMCG industries in Hong Kong. According to Euromonitor’s latest apparel and footwear data, the industry has plummeted by more than 50 percent from 2019.

However, there are also opportunities with this disruption. One key trend we have identified is the resilience of sportswear, which registered less negative growth compared to its non-sports counterparts. Slightly different from the athleisure trend, this is more driven by functionality among local consumers.

Firstly, due to wide closures of entertainment venues across Hong Kong in order to control the pandemic, there is a growing trend of conducting outdoor activities and sports this year. With the gyms forced to close, many consumers are still driven to workout at home due to the growing importance of self-care. This behavioural change has been supporting the growth of performance and outdoor sportswear. Sports brands including Decathlon, which has focused on sports performance even recorded double-digit sales growth in the first half of 2020. Secondly, as most companies in Hong Kong have been under a work-from-home scheme from Q1 to Q3 of 2020, consumers are less driven to purchase apparel and footwear for fashion purposes but rather for functionality and practicality.

On the contrary, non-sports fashion has been highly disrupted due to travel restrictions as well. Multiple fashion brands, luxury and fast fashion have been restructuring their strategies in Hong Kong. Their past retailing network was more based on high demand from mainland tourists. Under the travel restrictions, many fashion brands decided to decrease the density of offline retailers at tourist areas given its high rental fee. Hence why brands including Prada and Louis Vuitton closed their stores at Causeway Bay and central. Brands have therefore, had to rethink their channel strategies as the demand has changed.

Another market that is weathering the pandemic well is the sustainable fashion market, which has been gaining traction in Hong Kong. Luxury shoppers have been re-evaluating their shopping habits, which has pushed them to look for new ways to make and spend money as well as adopting more sustainable practices in the process.

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

Image: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels