Using real-time customer purchase data, Afterpay has released its annual Spring-Summer Global Trend Report. By sharing the research and insights, the company aims to help retailers and brands better understand the consumers’ shopping intentions for the upcoming season and prepare merchants for the trends that are taking over.
One trend highlighted in the report is a clear return to wedding season as consumers plan to attend formal events. According to Afterpay, with so many weddings to attend — after nearly two years of postponed events — more consumers are choosing to use buy now, pay later options to shop for formal and semi-formal attire. Quarterly sales for high heels were up 18 percent in the U.S. and up 67 percent in Canada.
Midi and maxidresses were also increasing in sales, up by 45 percent in the U.S. and 56 percent in Canada. The most popular styles included figure-hugging silhouettes, dresses with waist-cutouts and lacy fabrics. Afterpay’s experts said these popular styles speak to a larger trend around sexy, or more revealing dressing, which they expect to continue as a major trend even past the summer months.
Similarly, the report highlights “serotonin dressing” as an ongoing trend in fashion, where consumers are seeking clothing options that boost self-confidence.
“While dopamine dressing has remained a fun way to incorporate color into your wardrobe, a global survey investigating the mood-altering effects of clothing revealed that clothes don’t simply make people feel good. Forty-two percent of respondents believed that certain outfit choices made them feel more relaxed and thus more confident,” said Shakaila Forbes-Bell, Afterpay’s in-house fashion psychologist. “When we wear these types of outfits, they foster the release of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid or ‘GABA’ neurotransmitters in the brain that produce a calming and relaxing effect on the body — what I’ve labeled as ‘GABA dressing.’”
As office spaces reopen across the country, Afterpay’s data also found consumers are shopping for new workwear options. For Gen Z, who have largely been entering the workforce for the first time through virtual platforms, workwear now means combining the comforts of loungewear with relaxed, oversize shapes of streetwear. The company predicts the “new work wardrobe” will consist of neutral sneakers and looser, wide-leg fits.
At the same time, leisure activities including tennis, ballet and skateboarding are also inspiring fashion trends. U.S. sales for tennis skirts, matching sets and biker shorts were up 16 percent year-over-year with polos becoming a top-selling item in Canada with an increase of 192 percent year-over-year. Ballet-inspired looks were also on the rise both in athleisure and formal dressing with U.S. sales for these items like tulle and feather dresses increasing 85 percent year-over-year.
The authors of the report noted that skate culture can also be seen in today’s fashion trends with ties to genderless apparel like oversize jackets and loose-fitting pants. In the U.S., these genderless items were up 154 percent year-over-year.
In beauty, a highlighted trend included an emphasis on scalp care with Olaplex continuing to rank as one of the most beloved hair care products brands on Afterpay. Additionally, the company’s data found that U.S. shoppers are showing increasing interest in scalp tools with sales for shampoo massage brushes selling out at an increase of 381 percent since last year.
“Studies show that a good hair day can positively impact your mental health,” said Forbes-Bell. “With the passing of laws like California’s CROWN Act, consumers feel a liberation to express themselves however they choose.”
With the return of music festivals, like Coachella, Afterpay’s report also finds festival fashion trends on the rise. Among these trends are orange eyeliner and eye shadow with colored items already up 18 percent and semi-permanent hair color in pink and red shades up 28 percent in the U.S.
Moreover, inspired by HBO’s “Euphoria,” Afterpay has seen a rise in glitter eye shadow for going out and music events with U.S. sales for face gems increasing 87 percent quarter-over-quarter since the show’s second season concluded. “While travel restrictions are easing, studies show that people are still seeking escapism through their favorite shows by emulating makeup looks as a form of creativity and self-expression,” Forbes-Bell said.
Lifestyle items that consumers are leaning into, according to the report, are wallpaper, camping chairs, beach towels, AirPods and candles.
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