David Lockwood, Tapestry Insight Director, looked at industry online retail sales figures and Tapestry client weekly sales data Mon 27th April – Sun 3rd May. He also picked out some key points from 2 Tapestry Briefing discussions, one on Thursday 30th April between 15 leaders of gardening, home, food, drink and gift brands experiencing exceptionally high demand and one on Friday 1st May between 15 leaders of clothing, shoe and jewellery brands who are facing different challenges. David says: 

  • In the direct to consumer world, Fashion continues to trade at a depressed level with footwear the hardest hit. But, as in previous weeks, it is slowly improving. A number of fashion retailers are bucking this trend where their range is more home working appropriate or exercise led.
  • Most other sectors are seeing better than expected performance. Garden/Outdoor and Food/Drink continue to be the stellar performers – many still reporting triple digit growth.
  • Quite a bit of recent research is showing that the oldest sector of the population (age 75+) tightened their belts first and seems to be the slowest to start spending again. This seems to be borne out in the sales figures we are seeing across the industry.
  • The US is still following a pattern very similar to the UK, perhaps a week delayed. German consumers seem to still be falling back on direct as a shopping channel, continuing the really strong performance. France is still struggling in direct but showing signs of improvement.
  • Customer confusion remains high about whether some companies are still operating or not. Those who are really clear with their messaging, telling customers that they are open and able to work in a safe and responsible manner are seeing rewards.
  • In the expectation of an announcement by the government this week around how and when the lockdown will begin to be eased, conversations have turned firmly towards how retailers can make this work for them. Many are working on the assumption that they will be practicing social distancing measures in offices, warehouses and physical retail until the end of the year, with several looking for additional warehouse space to allow this to happen. This is all fairly speculative until the government updates guidelines and practices, we should expect more on this over the coming days.
  • Those who have overperformed during the lockdown are turning their minds to their recent buyers. Are they like existing customers, will they shop the same in future, how can brands ensure efficient marketing to these buyers over the next several months.
  • Feedback is that Royal Mail are taking a little longer than normal to deliver Marketing mail and considerably longer with small parcels. Other carriers are reported to be delivering closer to normal service
  • There are some interesting media deals in almost all channels to be had for those thinking about how to drive additional demand. Display, PPC, Off The Page and even Direct Mail are amongst the channels seeing lower than normal pricing.