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UK, US, China, Italy: How different markets are reacting to Covid-19

By Huw Hughes


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As the fashion industry and the wider world continue to feel the disruption of Covid-19, new data reveals the way different markets are being affected by the pandemic.

London-based retail data company Edited has launched a Covid-19 Retail Dashboard to keep industry professionals up to date with changes in different markets, such as the performance of different fashion categories and the impact of pricing and discounting.

Here are the dashboard’s key takeaways, up until now, of global trends from the UK, US, China and Italy markets.


Following the UK’s lockdown announced last month, and the subsequent closure of leading e-commerce sites such as Next and Net-a-Porter, new arrivals in the UK market have fallen to their lowest point in the past week, down by 60 percent year-on-year.

The UK is offering more discounted items, but at lower rates than last year. This week, for example, the amount of discounted products was up 17 percent, though the average discount was reduced by 10 percent.

Nightwear items have emerged as the country’s top-selling category, as people prioritise comfort and practicality while cooped up at home. Pajama sets and nightie sellouts surged by 160 percent and 155 percent, respectively.


Despite the US beginning 2020 with significantly more arrivals than 2019, they then dropped in late January, presumably impacted by the worsening state of the coronavirus outbreak in China and the country’s subsequent closure of its factories. This past week, product arrivals dropped 51 percent year-on-year.

The proportion of assortment discounted has seen an 18 percent increase compared to last year as retailers look to entice consumers to make online purchases. Retailers are also now pulling back on the depth of their promotions to preserve margin.


Arrivals plummeted by 54 percent year-on-year in China within two weeks of the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases reaching over a thousand in the region, beginning a downward trend that would last until the week beginning 1 March which saw a 95 percent decline. However, there has since been an uptick in arrivals since the country began to reopen its stores and factories in late March.

The country also saw heavy discounting throughout its lockdown, which continues into this week. At its highest point in late-March, 73 percent of products were reduced, though the average discount percentage remained relatively stable year-on-year.

Hoodies are the region's top category, seeing a 283 percent increase year-on-year.

As the first major market to begin to recover from the pandemic, it will be interesting to see how its recovery unfolds, and what insights it can provide to other regions several weeks, or months, behind.


New arrivals in Italy peaked in early January, before the coronavirus caused them to fall over the past three months. This past week saw the largest variance year-on-year, with new products down 45 percent.

The country has also seen a more aggressive discounting approach, with both the proportion of products discounted and the average reduction percentage outpacing last year. Currently, 40 percent of products are reduced with an average discount of 37 percent. The retailers with the biggest discounts are Coach and H&M with an average discount percentage of 52 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Underwear is the most popular item selling out, while scarves - which some people have been using as DIY protective masks - saw a 30 percent increase in sellouts.

Photo credit: Pexels