Are consumers still in the market for fashion?

Photos from SSI Group Facebook page

By: BusinessMirror

In this article, SSI’s Anton Huang was interviewed by BusinessMirror to shares the state of the luxury retailing in the country.

If there’s any indicator of why such is the case, Anton Huang, president of Stores Specialists Inc. (SSI), the country’s largest specialty retailer which carries luxury brands such as Prada, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Givenchy, points to the continued demand for fashion by consumers.

“The reasons behind each purchase may vary, whether it’s the need to shop for essentials, a need for an escape or a reward, or even the need to gift someone with something of value,” the retail mogul said in an exclusive interview with the BusinessMirror.

“Our core customer base has proven to be resilient, as seen in the performance of key categories in our portfolio during this pandemic,” he added.

Huang’s optimism is not without basis.

US-based management consulting firm McKinsey and Company, in the report “The State of Fashion 2020”, posited that the fashion industry is seen to regain positive growth of 2 to 4 percent in 2021, compared with 2019’s baseline figure.

For the personal luxury goods industry (luxury fashion, luxury accessories, watches and jewelry, as well as high-end beauty), it estimates a positive growth of 1 to 4 percent next year—a considerable feat considering the average market capitalization of apparel, fashion and luxury players dropped to almost 40 percent between the start of January and March of this year, according to digital intelligence firm Business of Fashion and SLI.

In the Philippines, discretionary spending is fueling the retail demand.

“Since the launch of The Specialist, our online concierge service, and the SSI Life Viber community, we have observed that our customers’ shopping behavior toward nonessential items continues to be there,” said Huang.

There is, though, a spike in demand for certain apparel categories like loungewear and athleisure (sweat pants and sport bras).

“We see some changes in their preferences and choices in terms of styles due to perhaps the shifts in their lifestyles, such as working from home and the like,” explained Huang, adding that another thing that influences consumers’ post-lockdown purchases is revenge consumption.

“We may see a continued change in buying and spending habits [sustainable consumerism and conscientious buying] but we can also expect a surge in what we term as ‘revenge shopping’—pent-up demand to make up for the months of not being able to go to the malls and shop on a normal basis,” said Huang.


Read the full feature HERE.