While 2020 brought us mixed elements of both bad and good, something Covid-19 brought to those whose lives were suspended in lockdowns around the world was time. This newfound time gave way to a large increase in certain activities, which corresponding industries were able to benefit from. According to Statista, there was a 39% increase in time spent gaming during 2020, causing a significant rise in consumer spending on games. The masses of employed staff who began working from home was a likely factor in a spike in turnover in March 2020, with profits being made largely from the wholesale of computers, computer peripheral equipment and software. Also, according to the Office for National Statistics, the turnover of cargo handling industries in the UK grew 8.4% while other postal and courier activities grew by 16%. While some of this could be due to Britain leaving the EU, it is clear that a good portion of this increase has been due to an increase in online shopping.
Unusual Consumer Behaviour
Although the increase in online shopping for computers, games and electronics makes perfect sense for how consumer behaviour would be during lockdown, what is slightly more odd is how certain corners of the fashion industry were also positively affected during this time. Berlin-based online fashion retailer Zalando, reported on July 15th 2020 that they’d had as much as a 34% increase in Gross Merchandise Volume during the second quarter of 2020. Zalando themselves attributed this to “the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic”, as customers were “increasingly turning to digital services.” Other fashion industry players have had growth throughout lockdown, too. UK-based online fashion retailer ASOS, reported a 10% increase in sales despite the pandemic. Boohoo, also based in the UK, reported an increase, with theirs being at 45%. Vestaire Collective reported that 119% more items were ordered in May 2020, compared to May 2019. Farfetch announced a 90% year-over-year increase in the first quarter of 2020.
Where Innovation Is Taking Us
Our reliance on the internet to execute day-to-day tasks with efficiency has only increased with time. We used to call a restaurant to order a takeaway – now we use an app. We used to rent movies at Blockbuster – now we watch Netflix. We used to do business meetings in person – now we use Zoom. Even though a large amount of clothes shopping has moved online, how much more efficient can it get? How much more innovation is ahead in regard to fashion production and e-commerce? With the gradual mass adoption of crypto and blockchain tech in the works, we have already begun to see evidence of how the fashion world will adapt blockchain to cater towards its most enthusiastic consumers.
Blockchain’s Utility in the Fashion World
Sportswear and sneaker giant Nike have begun providing buyers of their sneakers with a digital seal of authenticity in the form of an NFT, as part of an initiative called “CryptoKicks”. When a pair of Nikes are purchased, a digital version of the product is uploaded into a “virtual locker” for the owner to keep as proof of authentic Nike sneaker ownership. When it comes to distinguishing real sneakers from fakes in the secondary market, this will make life easier for the sneakerhead community. However, the usefulness of NFTs in the fashion world does not stop at authenticating high-end purchases. Soon, fashion enthusiasts will be able to take part in the design process of the clothing they want to buy, and purchase those clothes with crypto – all in one place. This will be made possible through Faith Tribe, a fashion DAO project from Paris luxury-apparel brand Faith Connexion. Faith Tribe will allow clothing products to be digitally designed by everyday consumers and creatives alike, and many will be able to collaborate on projects. Initially minted as digital-only NFTs, users who want to physically own their designs will be given 3 options: produce garments only for themselves, hold a pre-sale with limited production, or have open ended production. As the design, minting and sales of garments happen within one ecosystem, such a platform will be a great place for newcomers into crypto who want to get a feel for Web3 technology while conceptualising their next outfit purchase.
Growing Closer Through Community
Despite the difficulties Covid has brought upon us, it is encouraging to see that it has not dampened the creative enthusiasm of fashionistas, nor the innovative genius of DeFi tech developers. While the world adapts to everything new that Web3 will bring, let’s hope that blockchain aids us in growing closer together by helping us build communities in a time which has isolated many from one another.