From the missed opportunity for men’s brands using Instagram to which markets are growing fastest and the number of labels holding coed shows, here are some facts retailers and designers might find useful in trying to figure out how to weather the changes buffeting the fashion world.
The Online Opportunity
Men’s wear is expected to outpace women’s wear over the next two years, with a 5 percent annual compounded growth rate, according to the L2 Insight report on U.S. men’s wear. However, few fashion brands have prepared appropriately for the expected demand in their online businesses.
L2 evaluated 59 firms that carry only men’s or both men’s and women’s products and determined that although 86 percent collect gender information from customers at sign-up, only 41 percent use that data to modify the subject lines of their gender-targeted e-mails — which historically achieve higher open rates.
Additionally, nearly one-third of the brands that carry men’s wear fail to feature men’s products on their homepages and another 19 percent push men’s content below the fold. As an example, even though Calvin Klein’s most-viewed product page in the last year was the men’s underwear page, the company’s homepage promotes primarily women’s wear.
The report said that men are increasingly using social media — particularly Instagram — in lieu of fashion magazines to glean information, yet men’s-focused brands had 53 percent fewer posts, 75 percent fewer followers and 82 percent fewer total interactions on average. While Supreme and Hugo Boss buck the trend, other brands should increase their use on the site to further engage men, the report said.
Brands that primarily target men are using influencers more and more, with 37 percent of Instagram posts in the last year tagging an influencer, up from 27 percent the year before. Those that work with well-known athletes and musicians are more likely to find lifts in engagement but advocates, micro- and small influencers have also proven popular for brands such as Hugo Boss and Cole Haan.
Among the brands researched were Alfred Dunhill, Brioni, John Varvatos, Raf Simons, Supreme, Lacoste, Paul Smith and Thom Browne.
It’s no secret that sneakerheads are rabid about their sport of collecting, trading and selling sneakers.
In a recent report by YouGov, a leading consumer research data company, 56 percent of sneakerheads are likely to miss work, school or other daily responsibilities to purchase a pair of sneakers. This is in contrast to 8 percent of the general public. They’re also confident in their ability to pick out a fake pair, with over 90 percent reporting that they can tell the difference between genuine and counterfeit products.
Ironically, 33 percent of sneakerheads say they never actually wear the products they buy, with another 22 percent saying they will wear them sometimes, but only indoors, 29 percent saying they wear them frequently and 16 percent saying they wear them all the time.
Overall, 7 percent of American adults categorize themselves as sneakerheads, with the majority falling into the 18- to 34-year-old age range and many belonging to an ethnic minority. Nearly half of these self-professed sneaker hounds say they buy shoes mainly to collect them, while 39 percent buy with an intent to resell.
Overall in 2017, U.S. athletic footwear industry sales rose 2 percent to $19.6 billion, according to the NPD Group. Women’s grew the fastest, up 5 percent over 2016, with men’s rising 1 percent. Sport leisure was the largest category, rising 17 percent to $9.6 billion in sales. Performance shoe sales actually declined 10 percent to $7.4 billion.
Adidas was the fastest-growing brand overall with sales jumping a whopping 50 percent over the year before. Other popular brands include Nike’s Brand Jordan, Under Armour and New Balance.
“I often get asked whether the bubble around leisure will burst anytime soon, and the answer is no,” said Matt Powell, senior industry adviser for sports at NPD. “There is not a single performance shoe in the top 10 list for 2017, which illustrates the sportswear fashion cycle we are in. Ath-leisure rules the runway, and the line between what is an athletic shoe and a casual shoe continues to blur. Brands and retailers must continue to feed this trend.”
Chinese, Millennials to Drive Luxury Business
Bolstered by China and an increasingly younger consumer, the luxury market continues to grow, increasing 5 percent to 1.2 trillion euros globally in 2017. And the growth is expected to continue over the next three years with a 4 to 5 percent compounded annual rate expected, bringing the market for personal luxury goods to 295 billion to 305 billion euros by 2020.
According to the Bain Luxury Study, published by Bain & Co. for Fondazione Altagamma, the Italian trade association of luxury goods manufacturers, this growth takes forms, led by luxury cars, whose sales were up 6 percent to 489 billion euros, and experiences such as luxury cruises whose sales rose 14 percent.
The market for luxury goods reached a record high of 262 billion euros, up 5 percent in the year, with Chinese consumption jumping 15 percent to 20 billion euros.
Japanese consumers also embraced luxury last year with the market increasing 4 percent to 22 billion euros, while European sales bounced back to post a 6 percent gain to 87 billion euros in sales. The U.S., in contrast, was up only 2 percent to 84 billion euros.
Other standouts last year included the continued dominance of online, which posted a 24 percent increase in sales and now accounts for 9 percent of the overall business.
The study also pointed to a “generational shift” in the luxury market with 85 percent of the growth last year fueled by Generations Y and Z. “This shift in mindset is pushing luxury brands to redefine what they deliver to customers and how they deliver it,” the study said. For example, top category included reinterpreted streetwear pieces such as T-shirts, down jackets and sneakers which grew 25 percent, 15 percent and 10 percent respectively in 2017.
*The number of brands holding coed shows during the women’s calendar in London, Milan, Paris and New York for fall.