Who says Europeans are more happy in adapting a work-to-live attitude than their American counterparts, known as a group who mostly lives to work? Certainly not a new Harris Poll that finds Americans “much more happy” with their lives and “much more optimistic” about their future than Europeans. This is clearly good news for U.S.-based marketers, noted Humphrey Taylor, chairman at the Harris Poll. “High expectations have a high correlation with strong consumer confidence and tend to increase purchasing activity,” Taylor said. “When expectations are low, it’s harder to market new fashion, let alone sell more things.”
More than twice as many Americans, or 57 percent, say they are “very satisfied” with their lives, compared with an average of 21 percent of Europeans. Forty-nine percent of Americans think their lives have improved in the past five years, versus an average of 36 percent of Europeans. And 63 percent of people in the U.S. expect their personal situation will improve in the next five years, against 40 percent in Europe, on average.
Only one country in Europe exceeded the U.S. in life satisfaction, Denmark, with 64 percent of Danes saying so. Europe’s next most satisfied were those in The Netherlands (45 percent) and Luxembourg (39 percent). Euro-satisfaction levels were at low tide in Portugal (6 percent), Greece (11 percent) and France (14 percent).
SIZE DOESN’T MATTER: Quality rather than quantity creates the best word of mouth, author-journalist Malcolm Gladwell told a group of marketing executives and journalists who gathered last Thursday for a panel discussion he led, sponsored by Lucky magazine, about what causes trends and ideas to spread like wildfire. Drawing on his days as a Washington Post science writer, Gladwell, now a staff writer at The New Yorker, noted it takes just 1 to 2 percent of a group to turn a disease into an epidemic — and an equally small share of mavens, or people equipped with a passion for knowledge and a desire to share it, to explode a trend. “These people are not necessarily the best educated or wealthiest, but they do have a special social power,” Gladwell observed.Too, cultural leverage doesn’t necessarily equate with big numbers, agreed panelists Dee Dee Gordon, president of trend forecaster Look Look; Ron Frasch, chairman and chief executive officer at Bergdorf Goodman; Richard Pleplar, executive vice president at HBO, and Nina Garduno, vice president of men’s fashion at Fred Segal. “There’s such a push to make everything mainstream, it snuffs the little guys out,” Garduno said. “How many great specialty stores are there in the world? Ten. How many great TV shows? There’s always just a handful.”
And it still takes some patience, amid America’s hyperkinetic marketing whirl, to allow a trend or concept to take off. “Word of mouth often takes time to build,” Gladwell emphasized. “Think of TV — the most successful shows typically take time to catch on. Seinfeld, for one, had a horrible first season.”
DENIM SKIRTS THE BLUES: Eluding the protracted slump in sales of women’s sportswear, dollar-volume produced by purchases of women’s jeans, in the first quarter, surged 22 percent, to tally $1.47 billion, up from $1.21 billion in the prior-year period, found STS Market Research. A handful of stores fueled that jeans business: Gap, Old Navy, Kohl’s, Target and Wal-Mart. Firm prices helped, too, with jeans going for $22.26 on average versus $22.33 a year ago, while the average price of a sportswear item fell 4 percent to $18.98 from $19.77. The first-quarter jeans volume marks a 28 percentage-point upswing from the 6 percent drop in overall sales of women’s sportswear during the period, which came to $8.46 billion, versus $8.99 billion a year earlier.
Separately, STS is now offering data on shoppers’ sportswear consumption behavior at specific chains, extending the boundaries of consumer research from the retail channel to the store level. For example, people’s responses to changes in product assortments, pricing and displays have been culled by canvassing shoppers at Wal-Mart Stores, J.C. Penney, Target, Kohl’s, Gap, Sears, Kmart, TJX, Limited Brands, Federated Department Stores and May Department Stores Co. units. The number of men and women, ages 13 and older, surveyed ranges from 700 at Federated up to 2,500 at Wal-Mart. “For years, consumer research was done by channel,” noted Mike Hand, a partner and senior vice president of business development at Cambridge, Mass.-based STS. “The broader distribution of brand-name goods and the resulting spread of cross-shopping have made it necessary to consider consumer behavior at the store level.”VIRTUAL APPEAL: Is apparel’s cyber-shot in the arm on the horizon, or is it simply a virtual mirage? During the first quarter, Internet surfers in 11 of 13 countries increasingly scrapped low-speed modems in favor of high-speed Internet access in at-home computers, Nielsen/NetRatings found. Fashion images with the sharper resolution and more precise colors conveyed by broadband have long been expected to boost sales of apparel online. Although it’s been among a handful of e-commerce bestsellers for several years, apparel still realizes just a small portion of its overall business the e-way.
Prospects look brightest in Hong Kong, where 65 percent had high-speed hookups in the first quarter, compared with the 16 percent with low-speed connections. Also promising were Brazil and Sweden, where surfers were switching to broadband at the fastest rate, among those polled: 16 percent in each did so between January and March. Italy and Germany were the only countries canvassed where the number of broadband users didn’t grow. N/NR surveyed Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.
In the U.S., which was not included in the N/NR first-quarter study, 36 percent of at-home ’Net users had high-speed access in April, or 39 million people, up 55 percent from 25.2 million, or a 24 percent share, a year earlier.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)