Is revenge shopping a post-pandemic myth?
While a section of fashion set is hopeful that the post pandemic era will usher in a wave of revenge shopping, however, if one analyses the retail situation realistically, one could safely deduce that it may not be a possibility at all. With global economy being badly hit in the wake of Covid-19, cutting down extravagant expenses and tightening one’s belt seem to be the key priority on everyone’s mind. Besides, even if the shutdown eases in the future and one decides to make impulse purchases, where are the parties and events to go to, where one could flaunt one’s latest buys? As a society, Indians have always been careful shoppers and a bargain buy or a discounted purchase is always the shopping mantra.
Given the extended period of lockdown, most of us have got the opportunity to rediscover our wardrobes and came across multiple pieces, which we’ve accumulated over the years, but never wore them. Also, one doesn’t want to get rid of the items one has bought with a lot of love. Moreover, repeating pieces is cool today with fashion set making a noise about embracing sustainability. In this backdrop, there’s a possibility that the revenge buying may not happen at all.
During this lockdown, Sunil Sethi, Chairman, FDCI has rediscovered many items of clothing and accessories in his closet, which he always kept aside and never got the opportunity to wear. “As I have lost weight over the years, I’ve started warming up to pieces, which now fit me like a glove like my seven pairs of jeans, which I could easily wear for the next couple of years. Also, of late, I’ve rediscovered my jackets in which I fit into like never before as I have been able to get back in shape. So I don’t see myself indulging in revenge shopping post the lockdown,” says Mr Sethi.
Designer Suneet Varma opines that people will be confronted with lot of moral dilemma once the restrictions ease up. “Revenge buying doesn’t work necessarily and is only applicable for the quintessentially classic pieces. One may want to buy a beautiful piece of art or jewellery or a classic sartorial piece, which will last long. This will be the norm of life - embracing classicism as opposed to hedonism. Of course, there will be a one-off case of someone crazily buying 10 lehengas to choose from. (laughs). Normalcy or maybe borderline boring will be the new influencer as opposed to something new, hep or cool,” says Suneet.
Fashion is always consumed among a certain set of parameters like when one is going out to a party so shopping is often occasion specific. “No one wears new clothes at home to watch Netflix. Hermes and Chanel stores in China may have raked in profits recently, but this buying is not happened anywhere in the world. In India, everyone is praying that the situation normalises before the festive season kick starts. Indians are inherently sensible buyers and never been swayed by the luxury market like in other parts of Asia. Hence, shopping will be need-based and there won’t be any mindless stocking up of merchandise. People will discover the joy of inward gratification,” says designer Nachiket Barve.
Designer Nimish Shah says, “You can buy a dress, but where will you go wearing it. The new money customer will be very sceptical post pandemic. Currently, everyone is deprived of eating out, salons and bars. These categories will pick up momentum first and fashion will come much later. People will shop sensitively, they will first see if a product is great and the price is safe. Also, there will be a shift in the mindset and people may not shop for high street brands, but support indigenous homegrown labels. I see luxury customers waiting for a big chunk of discount on designer products. They’ll buy one bag and not five.”
Designer Monisha Jaising notes that the sentiment of pride synonymous with luxury purchase won’t exist. “The feeling of pride associated with luxe buying may not be there. It could just be the reverse of that. As far as revenge shopping is concerned, I definitely see it happening initially but then there will be a sudden dip.”