The November fashion industry news selection
E-commerce boom & video game catwalks: All change please
All industries have had to innovate and evolve in light of the pandemic, and the fashion industry has been no exception. The month of November brings massive e-commerce events like Black Friday, Singles Day and Cyber Monday, and fashion retail really cannot afford to miss out any more than it already has.
The question is, will the consumer break their new habits now they have become used to just ordering what they want from whoever has the easiest to use digital experience?
IMRG has advised online sales could grow by up to 45% in the last week of November.
In this month’s round-up, we will be looking at recent changes in the industry and how the move to digital has accelerated, resulting in the adaptation of new technologies across a large portion of the fashion industry.
Fashion retailers and brands are thinking ‘digital first’
It’s fair to say luxury brands have lost out during 2020. Not only have customers had to reassess their budgets, but brands have missed out on tourists visiting their flagship stores and buying duty-free in airports.
It’s estimated the world’s 50 top luxury brands will lose up to £26 billion in value this year (Brand Finance).
Tech-focused businesses are helping prestige fashion brands to reach out to customers online, so they can find new ways to appeal to international shoppers. For example, e-commerce powerhouse Farfetch has created a brand-new website for Harrods, so they could reach high-value customers in countries like China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
Although many brands have felt the hit of Covid-19, a robust digital presence has helped many of them to reduce damage considerably. For example, Adidas was able to limit the loss of sales to 7% in the third quarter of this year thanks to its increases in online revenue.
Brands looking at new ways to showcase their latest collections
With more and more fashion brands moving online, companies are investigating new and innovative ways to promote themselves and stand out.
At the start of December, luxury fashion house Balenciaga will unveil its Autumn 2021 collection in a video game. The iconic brand will launch ‘Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow’ as an alternative to the traditional catwalk show.
No other fashion houses are yet known to promote their collections similarly, but it will be interesting to see if there is a sea change in 2021 and beyond.
Online shopping in a physical store: The best of both worlds?
Customers can message and video call staff in-store who can answer their questions and arrange purchases and shipping on their behalf.
The new messaging system will be rolled out to the UK in time for December.
M&S diversifying further to increase revenue
This month, Marks and Spencer announced it would be selling Early Learning Centre toys on its website to expand its range and negate against the losses it made at the start of the pandemic.
This is the second guest brand it has introduced this year to broaden its product range, after welcoming womenswear brand Nobody’s Child only just last month.
Fashion brands shaking up their digital action plans
Cath Kidston, which went into administration earlier this year, recently unveiled a transformation plan that puts a lot of emphasis on digital marketing and selling online.
The company plans to improve its digital presence over the next three years, both in the UK and internationally. E-Commerce now accounts for 85% of its sales.
Designer wellington boot brand Hunter saw sales affected by the pandemic, with the cancellation of music festivals having a significant impact. The company recently appointed Claudia Plant, the former Net-a-Porter co-founder, as their new chief marketing officer. The assumption is that digital transformation is also on their mind with this strategic appointment.
The rise of augmented reality (AR)
Several fashion brands are trialling virtual try-on technology, which can be used by customers who no longer can or want to visit their stores.
This technology is not entirely new. Cosmetics companies have been using it for some time, so customers can try new hair colours and make-up in the comfort of their own home.
However, clothing brands are now starting to utilise it so customers can see how fashion items will look on them before purchasing. With the improvements in smartphone technology, virtual try-on technology is now much more accurate and cost-effective than it was before.
According to the Gartner Company, it’s estimated as many as 100 million customers across the world will use AR technology to shop by the end of 2020.
Italy looking outside to support its small fashion businesses
Many large fashion brands have felt the impact of the pandemic, but smaller businesses have also suffered. Finding ways to help promote these smaller brands to a wider audience is not just happening in the UK.
Just this week, the Italian Government established a partnership with the Alibaba group to create an online store for Italian products, helping SMEs to export their goods to other countries. The ‘Made in Italy Pavilion’ on Alibaba will promote over 300 fashion, food and technology brands to no fewer than 190 countries.
Italian trading abroad has reduced by 9% during the pandemic, and it is hoped this move will help revive sales of its national brands in the months to come.
UK fast fashion success in 2020
Although luxury brands have struggled in the pandemic, fast fashion brands have seen success as customers move to cheaper brands with effective e-commerce systems in place.
UK-brand In The Style, launched by Adam Frisby in 2013, is considering a stock market listing which could value it at over £100 million. If successful, it could go public in early 2021.
The brand saw revenue double in quarter one and quarter two of this year.
Will high-street retailers see a boost in the last month of the year?
With lockdown in England confirmed to be lifted on 2 December, the question is: will retailers see an increase in people physically shopping for goods, or will customers stick to shopping online?
Stores reopened in Wales in November and customers have been coming back to the high-street, with sales doubling in some stores compared to last year’s figures.
There are arguments for and against. With three weeks until Christmas, a lot of people will have already finished their shopping online, especially during Black Friday. However, some people enjoy the ambience of shopping during December, and may use their stockpiled holidays to make a day of it.
Time will tell, and we will share the end of year statistics with you in next month’s round-up.
This November fashion business news round-up was supported by WFX Cloud PLM
Fashion business news by Conceptable, London