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Anna Oxana RETAIL Lockdown lifting to spark fashion spending spree says eBay Ads Start Reading

Slide As the UK prepares to reopen post-lockdown and the debate continues about whether or not a fashion spending boom will happen, eBay thinks it will. A report by eBay Ads UK on Thursday said “lockdown lifting is set to signal a surge in spending on going-out clothes and holiday wardrobes – amongst the young and old”. It commissioned Censuswide to speak to 1,000 consumers aged 16+ earlier this month and said that “brands should anticipate a surge in spending over the coming weeks”.

Lockdowns will start to be lifted on Monday with April 12 being the big day for non-essential shops to reopen in much of the UK. The report said this “marks the start of a season of shopping for consumers – with interest in going-out garments and holiday accessories set to soar”.

Some 20% of consumers surveyed have more disposable income compared to pre-pandemic and 69% already have a priority purchase in mind for when lockdown lifts – “demonstrating a need for brands to ensure they’re engaging customers with the most relevant content well ahead of key lifting dates if they’re to win their share of spend”.

Importantly for the fashion industry, “clothing is set to be a key purchase for many consumers”, with 22% planning to buy new clothes “as a priority once lockdown lifts – meaning brands should be ready to reach out to a new wave of people looking for a fashion refresh”.

The company said that analysing shopper behaviour on its UK eBay site, indicates that consumers will be buying clothes for socialising.

Last year, on June 27, a week before UK pubs reopened following the first lockdown, searches for ‘skinny jeans’ on the site jumped 47% compared to the day before. Meanwhile searches for 'hoop earrings’ and ‘fake eyelashes’ increased by 27% and 24% respectively in the same timeframe.

While much of that activity may have been about young people getting ready for going out again, the latest survey results also suggest that older consumers can’t wait to get out and about too.

Some 26% of 16-24-year-olds say they’re most excited to go to a pub, bar or nightclub when the current lockdown lifts, but as many as 23% in the 55+ age group say the same.

And looking back at last year’s June reopening again, searches for ‘high heels’ made by shoppers aged 55 and over rose 53% overnight, compared to a 29% uplift for shoppers aged 18-34.

That could also be a reflection of younger shoppers buying flats and trainers, while older shoppers went for more conservative going-out shoes. But it still underlines the interest in dressing up and going out among older consumers. Meanwhile searches for ‘clutch bag’ made by shoppers aged 55 and over rose 55%, compared to a 53% increase for 18-34-year-olds.

Lockdown easing won’t only be about socialising though, as the chance to go on holiday returns. The survey showed 38% of consumers saying they’re most excited to go on holiday – which comes second only to the excitement of seeing friends and family (40%).

Older generations lead the way here, with 43% of consumers aged 55+ most excited to go on holiday when lockdown ends, compared to 30% of 16-24-year-olds — possibly influenced by the potential need for a ‘vaccine passport’ and older consumers more likely to have been vaccinated.

But younger consumers are most likely to buy new clothes for any trips with 21% of 16-24-year-olds and 18% of 25-34-year-olds saying they plan to buy holiday clothes as a priority when lockdown ends. That drops to only 9% for the 55 and over group.

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