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Survey: Virtual Market Appointments Could Be the New Normal Post Pandemic

A new survey has found that 90% of fashion brands plan to present new collections this summer — and, driven in part by efficiency, the majority will hold appointments virtually even as coronavirus health-related restrictions ease in many parts of the world.

This summer, 98% of brands said they will use virtual selling while 89% of retailers said they will use virtual buying, the wholesale management platform Joor said Monday. The company recently surveyed 500 global fashion brands and retailers.

“While brands and retailers are keen to return to in-person showroom appointments, neither group is willing to give up the efficiency and extended reach of virtual selling,” said Kristin Savilia, CEO of Joor, in a statement.

The survey found that 22% of brands are committed to a fully virtual market, while 16% of retailers are conducting only virtual appointments this season.

Of brands hosting in-person meetings, 80% are meeting people in showrooms and 42% are going to trade shows. A variety of trade shows will take place this year, both in person and virtually.

Brands presenting new collections are mostly focused on spring/summer 2022.

Notably, the bulk of retailers are seeking newness with 86% of retailers interested in new products, given declining carryover. In general, 92% of retail buyers plan to attend market appointments over the summer, the survey found.

“Rather than just relying on familiar resources, buyers are in search of exciting product and eager to discover new brands,” the survey said. “The leading driver for discovery is the desire to offer consumers something different, followed by keeping up with trends.”

Twenty-eight percent of retailers surveyed are seeking sustainable products and 20% are looking for diversity, said Joor.

Regarding sales, 42% of brands surveyed said they are seeing levels that are equal to or more than sales before the pandemic. The survey also found that open-to-buy budgets are back for 45% of buyers that are equal to or greater than pre-pandemic levels, and 20% are spending more than they did in 2019.

BEST GROUP Photo by Angelo Lanza Sponsored By ITA

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