The fashion industry too has been heavily shaken up by the Corona crisis. The crisis is triggering uncertainty or fear in almost everyone. Pessimism about economic development is widespread among consumers. According to an analysis by McKinsey, sales in the global clothing and footwear industry have shrunk by about 30 percent compared to the previous year. A spending freeze has exacerbated the supply-side crisis. Widespread shop closures in an industry that relies on offline channels, coupled with consumers’ instinct to prioritise necessities over expendable goods, have hurt brands’ margins and depleted liquidity. Even online sales have declined by 5 to 20 per cent in Europe and 30 to 40 per cent in the United States (1).
As always, the companies that will emerge most successfully from the crisis will be those that best grasp and implement the prevailing trends. According to McKinsey, this includes the significance of sustainability across the entire value chain. Customers will increasingly prefer companies that treat their employees and the environment with respect. Customers judge brands on the basis of trust – a trend that has been reinforced by the pandemic. The crisis has brought issues such as the origin of goods, overconsumption and irresponsible business practices into focus (1). While in April the pandemic was still the biggest concern of consumers (44%), in the third quarter it was climate protection again. 55% of the Swiss intend to shop less, yet more in small shops in the future; 32% said they would avoid shopping centres. Worldwide, 82% of consumers have changed their shopping behaviour because of Covid-19 (2).
This is good news for Cervo Volante, because sustainability is not a new trend for us, but the starting point for all our considerations. We produce in Switzerland wherever possible, avoid long transport routes for raw materials and producers, pay attention to maximum environmental compatibility in all materials and production steps, and we are always looking for new, more sustainable solutions – together with our production partners.
Nevertheless, this year was not easy for us either. A lot of unexpected things came up that we faced with our small team. Like the whole industry, we had to deal with production stops, interrupted delivery routes, production delays and closed shops.
In order to cope with the crisis, we have expanded our online presence and digital marketing and were thus able to serve our customers despite the closure of our store. For some of our customers, shopping online was a new experience. We are very happy that many customers have accompanied us on this journey towards a digital shopping experience and have remained loyal to us in the lockdown. We love serving customers in the “real” shop, with the smell of leather, the feel of leather and good conversations. The pandemic required a quick change, rethinking and learning new ways of doing things. We’ll stay tuned…
We also launched new products at the beginning of the pandemic:
– The ALBIS and SARGANS deerskin sneakers are among the most ecological sneakers on the market. We looked for the most sustainable solution in Machhart and components to minimise the ecological footprint.
– The NATURALA and DESERT desert boots and the SULVADI espadrilles are our first models made of suede deerskin. Thanks to the reverse use of the leather (grain side inside), we can better recycle our leftover leather
And last but not least, we have transformed our shop into a concept store – Cervo Stories to save resources and exploit synergies in marketing activities. All partner brands share the same philosophy and address a similar customer segment, but complement our offer. This way, we mutually increase our visibility among our clients and can design and implement marketing activities more efficiently.
The aftermath of the pandemic is not yet apparent. Together with you, dear clients, employees, partners, investors and supporters, we will master the turbulent times ahead.
Thank you very much Your Cervo Volante Team
Cover photo: Shoe moulds in a mould factory in Italy – new ones are made every season. Are so many really needed?
References: (1) The State of Fashion 2021: In search of promise in the perilous times, McKinsey, Dez. 1, 2020 (2) Swiss Council 2020, N. Schwaller, textilrevue.ch, 16.11.2020 (3) It’s time to rewire the fashion system: State of Fashion coronavirus update, BOF und McKinsey, 2020