Five business trends in luxury fashion
With London Fashion Week on the horizon, there's lots of talk about fashion forecasting and trends. I wanted to look at the sector from a business perspective. How is it performing in the economy? What are the big trends influencing consumers?
At the British Library Business & IP Centre, you can access a great database called Euromonitor International. It provides fantastic information on the fashion sector and retail. You can also buy reports from them directly.
I looked at their recent ‘Designer Apparel and Footwear (ready-to-wear) in the United Kingdom' report for inspiration. This is what I found out.
1. The sector continues to grow
The luxury fashion sector grew by 4% in 2014 . Growth has slowed on the previous year, in part due to reduced demand from Chinese and Japanese tourists - a knock on effect of currency fluctuations and political and economic instability. The report also touched on economic and political challenges in Hong Kong and Latin America.
On the flip side, there was strong growth from Middle Eastern purchasers. Exporting and international sales continue to be a huge part of business for the fashion sector. Euromonitor talks about a general shift from emerging markets to established ones, which is set to move further in 2015.
2. Tech and social media
In 2014, technology became an important way for brands to differentiate from one another, whether it was through development of textiles or innovative marketing campaigns.
As you'd expect, digital marketing has been an area of huge growth in the luxury sector over the last year. Taking Instagram as an example, Vogue was the first print magazine to make its Instagram feed shoppable via the LiketoKnow:It platform. Marc Jacobs ran a successful campaign (with over 70k photo entrees) to gain new models for his campaigns.
3. Everyone's buying designer jeans
Women’s designer jeans saw the strongest growth in 2014 – up 7% on the previous year, with boyfriend jeans remaining a key trend.
Bad news for men’s swimwear, women’s leggings and luxury childrenswear, all of which didn't perform as well. Although the latter was boosted in 2013 by the Royal wedding. Expect another spike soon...
4. We still like to shop in stores
For online, Net-a-Porter is the front runner. Its site features over 350 designers, has 2m visitors per week with an average spend of £500. The brand offers exclusive product ranges with designers like Richard Nicoll and Alexander Wang.
5. No big labels please...
Consumers are becoming increasingly turned off by in-your-face branding. Instead, we want high quality design with a 'heritage' feel. It's all very normcore. Confused? Vogue has a good piece from 2014 on the topic.
Lastly, you might like to watch Euromonitor's January 2015 film on the luxury market (below).