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Featured Dec 15, 2020 3 min read

Best of 2020: The most read stories

From Dark Academia to the coronavirus' impact across the industry, a wrap up of the 5 most significant retail stories.

best of

With one of the craziest years in history nearing its end and the world more connected than ever, we’re taking a moment to sum up what stories mattered most to the industry this year.

2020 has been one for the books. Despite the ups and downs, EDITED has made sure we’ve maintained retail data coverage across the latest industry trends and events, including a focal shift into the most topical category of all – how has the coronavirus impacted retailers? We’ve compiled our top five articles of the year that you read, shared and talked about. 

The essential retail trends that sold at the peak of the pandemic 

From store closures to furloughs, the first half of the year was a struggle for most retailers to navigate. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. These were the top selling items that kept the ship afloat for retailers across seven key regions. 

Top takeaways: 

  • As more people moved into remote-first work environments, there was an acceleration of comfort dressing across tops and bottoms. T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies made up a greater percentage of sell outs YoY. While leggings and sweatpants made up the highest proportion of bottoms sell outs YoY.
  • Due to similarities to the 2008 global recession, consumers became more financially conscious of spending heavily on products that were deemed excessive. Instead, retailers relied on essential items such as underwear and loungewear. The majority of SKU sell outs for lingerie grew YoY across all regions except for the US, Spain and Italy. While sleepwear sell outs had also increased YoY across all regions. 

Read it here: What’s selling globally during COVID-19

What’s self-love got to do, got to do with lingerie

Lingerie isn’t just for sex appeal anymore. It’s about giving consumers options across shapes, shades and sizes. New players looking to enter this market need to be mindful of these demands.

Top takeaways: 

  • Oftentimes an untapped category in the special sizes market, maternity and nursing bras were up 7% in the UK and highlights an opportunity in this space. 
  • Thanks to Kim Kardashian West’s Skims collection, shapewear sell outs across the US and UK saw a spike at the end of June 2019 and continued to outpace the number of new styles arriving to market.  
  • Demands for comfort and function continued to be the go-to style for consumers, with bralettes and sports bras as some of the most popular shapes.

Read it here: The lingerie market explained in 7 charts

A bigger meaning to ‘new year, new me’ 

While the pandemic breathed more life into the activewear market, our activewear report analyzed the top assortments and trends before stay-at-home orders were enforced in early spring. 

Top takeaways: 

  • There was 85% more yoga products in stock YoY at pure play active retailers in the US with the number of men’s items increasing by 26% – a huge opportunity for retailers to capitalize on. 
  • Sustainability efforts were top of mind for retailers with repurposed materials at the forefront. New activewear arrivals described as ‘recycled’ were up +642% for men and +388% for women YoY when looking only a few weeks into 2020. 
  • Despite all the new entrants, average price points for activewear assortment remained relatively consistent compared to 2019. 

Read it here: Activewear market analysis 

Embracing the fashion and lifestyle trends accelerated by COVID

Halfway through 2020, lockdown restrictions were lifted and there was newfound hope to show off an outfit at a safe six foot distance. Uncover how the pandemic shifted consumer demand, how retailers decided to discount and what trends consumers leaned into most. 

Top takeaways: 

  • With PPE and face masks becoming an unexpected staple accessory, demand will be high for antibacterial fabrics and finishes – particularly for sports and outdoor gear. 
  • Loungewear isn’t over, but instead will be elevated to leisurewear as comfortable fabrics and casual dressing for work, home and social activities are favored. 
  • A return to minimalism is strong as it’s complemented by a sustainability element through the investment of timeless and classic pieces.

Read it here: 5 post-coronavirus fashion trends to have on your radar

The dark horse of Gen-Z subcultures

From E-Girls and E-Boys to Cottagecore, we’ve covered an array of profiles and movements that have originated from TikTok, but there was one you all found more curious than the rest. Look no further than to the Dark Academia trend, where Gossip Girl meets Harry Potter. 

Top takeaways: 

  • Romanticizing the darker elements of the classics, clothes worn are a moodier alternative to Cottagecore. Think preppy with a gothic twist.
  • As digital learning becomes the new norm, students are yearning for a sense of community during uncertain circumstances. 
  • The trends to buy into included: preppy checks such as argyle and houndstooth; fabrics such as wool, tweed and corduroy; and linen and cotton tops. 

Read it here: The Dark Academia starter pack

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our articles as much as we had writing them this year. Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly Insider Briefing newsletter to stay up-to-date with our latest articles tackling all the topical retail challenges in the new year.