LOS ANGELES — For as much as the industry has chatted up the habits of the Millennial consumer, it seems to be just as quickly turning its attention to the next cohort — Generation Z — with Revolve Group Inc. the latest to focus on this growing segment with the launch of shopping site Superdown.
It’s the latest move, signaling a shift in attention by marketers, that a company built around knowing how to speak to Millennials via the influencer route is now turning to the consumer group loosely defined by birth years beginning somewhere in the mid-Nineties.
Revolve Group — which is the parent to its namesake online boutique as well as Forward by Elyse Walker and the Alliance Apparel umbrella of brands — now has Superdown.
The new site will carry an assortment of in-house brands in addition to J.O.A., BB Dakota, Levi’s, Brixton, Minkpink, Amuse Society, Agolde and 8 Other Reasons, among other lines.
“We saw there was an underserved portion of the market and felt we could provide premium fast-fashion product to a new generation of consumer,” Revolve Group cofounder and co-chief executive officer Michael Mente said. “We strategically tested this by launching a competitively priced in-house brand and saw a strong response. It made sense to transition this product to its own destination and build out an elevated roster of brands specifically curated for this customer, that complement her lifestyle.”
Mente cited in-house data supporting the buildout of a separate e-tailer when asked if there had been consideration of launching a sub-landing page and operating something within the Revolve ecosystem.
“Based on the data we have from our highly engaged social community, we know we have an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with the Gen Z audience,” he said, adding that the focus is on giving that customer an “experience” that is “thoughtfully designed just for her.”
Similar to its sister site Revolve, Superdown will be heavy on linkage with influencers to help gain traction and relevance among the target consumer. The e-tailer already is linked to Cindy Kimberly, Draya Michele, Olivia Pierson, Chantel Jeffries and others. It’s also worked out deals with some that will include influencer collaborations exclusive to the retailer later this year.
Revolve Group’s not necessarily the first to get smart about placing its brand in front of what will eventually grow up to be a sizable consumer base. Clique Brands Inc. had that in mind in 2016 when it launched its Obsessee brand, which was born entirely as a social media-only concept that’s since dabbled with in-real-life pop-ups using Instagram and Twitter posts instead of cash or credit as currency.
Intermix cofounder Haro Keledjian and wife and former Intermix fashion director, Sari Sloane Keledjian, are going after the tween market with their Everafter retail concept.
“It’s because of Instagram,” said Kitson founder Fraser Ross of the discerning tween market and its shopping habits. “They know everything about what they should have and what they don’t want. They’re exposed to brands that 20 years ago, 15 years ago they were never exposed to. They see inside Kylie’s [Jenner] closet and there’s 40 Hermès bags in there. The boys’ [market] is just as strong. They’re just as into themselves and the hair products and this and that. They know they want the Supreme and the Bapes.”
Ross pointed to brands such as Aviator Nation and Spiritual Gangster as popular labels among the tween group in his store.
For Revolve Group, the move with Superdown is a shot at continuing to diversify its portfolio and perhaps show the market it can move just as adeptly in navigating the consumer markets outside of its core Millennial base. That’s important as the company mulls an initial public offering.
The group reported companywide 2018 net sales up nearly 25 percent from the year-ago period to $498.74 million and a 2018 profit nearly six times what it saw a year earlier to $30.64 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. About 87 percent of its net sales were generated through the Revolve site, with the remainder coming from the luxury e-tailer Forward. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment on the potential IPO and timing.
Mente also declined to provide any guidance on projections for Superdown or say whether sales generated from the sister site could grow to rival that of Revolve, with that division increasing sales 31.1 percent from the year-ago period to $433.5 million.
“Superdown represents an opportunity to serve an expanded demographic with a large and growing spending power,” he said. “We’re incredibly excited to see it launch, but not in a position to share any performance projections.”