H&M, Zalando and C&A lead fashion sales in Germany, while Marks & Spencer, Next and Primark take the main spot in the UK. France is dominated by sport players and Italy by pure players.
Sport and online are, without a doubt, the winners of the pandemic and the fashion ranking in Europe confirms it. Pure players and the giants of the sports industry have taken the ranking of the largest fashion retailers in Europe in 2020, with cases as extreme as Amazon leading the business in Italy or Intersport heading sales in France.
The main fashion markets in Europe have been affected, to a greater or lesser extent, by the Covid-19 crisis. According to Kantar data, between January and November fashion sales fell by 21% in Europe, with decreases up to 35% in Portugal.
Among the five largest markets for fashion in Europe, Spain has been the most affected, with a 25% drop in sales between January and December. In Italy, on the other hand, the decrease stood at 24% between January and November, while in the United Kingdom the decline was 20% and France and Germany, 19%.
With stores closed due to lockdown and social distancing measures imposed in each country, online sales have exploded. In 2020, e-commerce represented over 30% of total fashion market in the European Union, with shares of up to 48% in the United Kingdom or 33% in Germany. In France, Italy and Spain, the online share stood at 23%, 22% and 19%, in each case, in 2020.
With e-commerce imposed as the winner channel and the rise of sports as a reaction to lockdown and the search for more comfortable clothes to be at home, the ranking of the fashion leaders in Europe is transformed.
In Germany, France and the United Kingdom, local players dominate the market, the opposite of Italy and Spain
In Germany, the largest market for fashion in Europe, Zalando was the second largest apparel retailer in 2020, only preceded by H&M, which despite being of Swedish origin has found its main market in neighbor Germany. C&A keeps third position, followed by Galeria Karstadt and Deichmann.
In France, the top 5 of fashion retailers is dominated by local players. In the French market, pure players do not manage to reach the top of the list -instead, sports giants do. Interport was the largest fashion retailer in the country by volume, followed by Leclerc, Decathlon, Kiabi and Galeries Lafayette.
Fashion in the UK is also dominated by local retailers. In addition, the country is more resistant to both the impact of pure players and sport. The top 5 of fashion in the British market is led by Marks & Spencer, followed by Next, Primark, George and F&F (Tesco). All five groups have made a major shift toward comfortable clothing in recent months.
According to Kantar data, between January and November fashion sales fell by 21% in Europe
While in Germany, France and the United Kingdom local players lead the way, in Italy and Spain the picture is quite the opposite. In both countries, only one of the companies in the top 5 is based in the same market.
Amazon has, in fact, managed to take the crown of fashion distribution in a market with as much tradition in the sector as Italy. Behind the American group, Italian chain OVS, French group Decathlon, German pure player Zalando, and Swedish giant H&M appear in the classification. Italy has therefore been permeable to both the online and sports trends.
Lastly, in Spain, although during the spring lockdown Amazon was one of the leading fashion retailers in the country, the group founded by Jeff Bezos has not kept up and the 2020 fiscal ends closes with local department store El Corte Inglés as the largest fashion distributor in the country. Below are Zara, Decathlon, Carrefour and Primark.