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Asos reveals “shifted shopping habits” in 2020 trend report

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Online retailer Asos has released its annual trends report, which reveals that the pandemic has shifted 20-somethings’ shopping habits, with activewear and loungewear soaring as shoppers looked for comfort.

During lockdown, Asos saw a corresponding uptick in customer demand for activewear, with 188,000 pairs of its Asos 4505 Icon leggings sold during the initial lockdown. As summer arrived, and more people started exercising outdoors, it saw demand for shorts increasing, with sales up 200 percent year-on-year.

It wasn’t all about working out, Asos said that its consumers were also looking for comfort, with its own brand line, Collusion being searched for more than 7.1 million times, and they sold over 1.5 million T-shirts, 760,000 pairs of tracksuits and 100,000 pairs of dad jeans. Asos also revealed that it was the first time in years that relaxed skater jeans overtook sales of skinny styles, up 222 percent year-on-year.

The surge in demand for loungewear across the country also translated to increased sales on Asos Marketplace, home to more than 1,200 vintage and independent fashion boutiques, with sales of joggers between April and July up 156 percent year-on-year, with tracksuits up 83 percent year-on-year.

Loungewear, activewear and face masks key trends for 2020 for Asos

Consumers also drew fashion inspiration from some of the year’s biggest launches in entertainment. When basketball legend Michael Jordan’s documentary released over the summer, sales of Air Jordan trainers increased by 60 percent. In October, hat sales increased by 48 percent year-on-year inspired by Lily Collins character in Emily in Paris, and after 179,000 people followed an Instagram account dedicated to Connell’s chain, from TV show Normal People, the online retailer reported a 70 percent increase in purchases of neck chains.

For menswear, it was all about “above keyboard dressing” with Asos selling more than 2 million units of hats, chains, earrings, and grooming products.

Due to the pandemic, face masks became one of the retailer’s biggest sellers. Since May, Asos has sold more than 1.2 million face coverings, and from these sales has donated 230,000 pounds to Oxfam’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Health and beauty soared for Asos during 2020

With salons closed for a lot of 2020, consumers doing their own self-care routines saw demand for health and beauty products increase this year. Between March and August, more than 290,000 face masks were sold, while haircare sales went up 278 percent year-on-year, skincare was up 94 percent and bath and body by 332 percent.

Skincare brand, The Ordinary, was 2020’s most popular face and body brand, as Asos sold one of its products every 2 seconds.

Asos also notes that customers also made “more considered purchases,” which, combined with the shift in category mix, meant the online retailer saw “unusually low customer return rates during lockdown”.

Nick Beighton, chief executive officer at Asos, said in a statement: “People’s lifestyles this year have changed beyond anything we could have expected, and shopping habits have shifted to reflect that. 2020 was not business as usual – for us, or for our customers. Our agile business model is built on extensive consumer insight, so we were able to adapt to this quickly and cater to the shift in customer demand. In a highly unpredictable year, that is a real achievement and I want to thank each and every one of our Asosers who have all made this possible.

“While it’s too soon to predict how customers will respond to changing lockdown measures, we anticipate that this trend towards leisure, activewear and face and body will continue to be strong into 2021, with our data-led approach meaning the business is in a good position to build on our agility in the year ahead.”

Images: courtesy of Asos

2020 trends