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South Africa: A Snapshot of Contemporary Fashion Retail

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Fashion Marketing in Emerging Economies Volume II

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies of Marketing in Emerging Economies ((PSMEE))

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Abstract

This chapter presents a condensed overview of contemporary fashion retail in South Africa. Its core objective is to offer valuable insight and a critical point of entry for brands and retailers prospecting the South African market. The chapter briefly explores the country’s fashion retail history, examining the contemporary retail environment, while providing a glimpse into its fashion retail future. Furthermore, the trajectory of growth in fashion retail market, contextualized by the recent COVID-19 global pandemic and the emergence of frontier technology, is discussed. The study adopted a qualitative approach, through a combination of document analysis and case studies to analyze the phenomenon. The fashion manufacturing and retail industry in South Africa have weathered many turbulent years in the past decades, causing it to shrink from the largest employer to one of South Africa’s least contributors to GDP and job creation. While discussing the pervasive impact of historic challenges, the study observed that developments in digital retail and collaborative retail strategies, coupled with the explosion of social media and sustainable consumer behavior, could revive and propel the distressed industry. It also underscored the rapid acceleration of e-commerce and the emergence of omnichannel retail despite South Africa’s entrenched mall culture. Beyond South Africa, some aspects of the observed potential and pitfalls in fashion retail may equally be applicable to emerging markets across Africa.

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Nimo, K.K. (2023). South Africa: A Snapshot of Contemporary Fashion Retail. In: Brooksworth, F., Mogaji, E., Bosah, G. (eds) Fashion Marketing in Emerging Economies Volume II. Palgrave Studies of Marketing in Emerging Economies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-07078-5_7

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