The pandemic, and recovery from it, will likely define the year as consumers look to refresh their wardrobes and retailers hold on to new practices that worked, analysts say.

After a year that unfolded unlike anybody’s predictions, the retail industry and its analysts are trying to game out what 2021 could look like as COVID-19 continues to surge, vaccines against the disease roll out and anxious consumers pine for life after lockdown.

Vaccines that inoculate against the coronavirus could shift many of the trends that 2020 brought, while some changes are likely to remain in place and accelerate as the U.S. and the world try to build a new normal.

Categories that downshifted during the pandemic could see “strong” demand this year, including apparel, beauty and footwear, according to the NPD Group’s Chief Industry Advisor Marshal Cohen. At the same time, those areas that gained traction in 2020, such as home goods and other categories that helped make stay-at-home life better, could lose steam in 2021.

Other growth areas, like gaming and home productivity, could continue their growth post-pandemic, according to NPD Group.

Some new shopping habits are likely to remain in place as well.

Ben Unglesbee, RetailDive.com

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