Three predictions for the Fashion market in 2019
In an increasingly challenging market it is important that retailers stand out from the crowd. Throughout 2018, we saw the best performing retailers are those with a clear point of difference; be it value, a branded offer or being on point with fashion trends. Retailers themselves have noticed this, looking to capitalise upon the fact that a fifth of consumers are more likely to visit a store with some form of ‘social space’. It is however important that similar to the ‘athlesiure’, ‘coloured denim’ and ‘maxi dress’ trends retailers make sure not to ‘follow the crowd’ by either launching ranges or adding facilities in-store simply because competitors do. It is important to understand their customers’ needs and demands and then innovate based on these.
Consumers as King
Retailers will no longer be able to dictate to consumers. Years of constant year-long discounting, high stock levels and negative news stories mean consumers are fully aware the power is in their hands. To counter this retailers should stop putting their customers into ‘groups’, such as the ‘value shopper’ or the ‘high end shopper'. The reality is that consumers will shop where they can find the product that best fits their needs – paying higher prices for items that are bought for a specific purpose, be it a night out, exercise or changing seasons. Whilst pureplayers should not be underestimated, the power they have to disrupt the market is negligible. Two-thirds of all money lost from stores is lost from the market altogether, retailers need to think about long-term retention strategies to change more customers rather than short-term discounting stunts.
Discounting did a good job of driving spend during the last recession, the challenge being this discounting never stopped and is no longer driving footfall. Only a quarter of the population are excited by discount events and historical data tells us that growth is required from both full price and discounting for the market as a whole to grow – indeed only 20% of all retailers who grew in 2018 grew through discounting alone. We expect to see a revised and more controlled approach to discounting this year as retailers move to protect margins whilst focusing on customer retention.
A few questions for fashion players to ask themselves:
Are you selling consumers the products they want, or products you want them to buy?
Are you making it easy for your customers to move to competitors through poor service, lack of trust due to discounting or a difficult to navigate website?
Have you a strategy for ‘turning off’ or ‘fewer’ discounting this year – are you discounting for the sake of discounting or using this as a strategic rather than tactical tool?
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Consumer, Insight Director Fashion