Hitting the sweet spot during assortment planning is tricky. With retail, a consumer-driven industry, finding the perfect mix of trends is equivalent to pulling a wild card. Almost.
Analyzing emerging and established trends serves a larger role in assortment planning more than ever, especially with shortened lead times and windows to sell product at full price. The combination of increased social listening and historical sales data will establish a retail advantage, releasing brands form the merciless grip of ever-changing consumer tastes. Instead of determining the top physical trends for 2019, we’re including styling trends on our watchlist this year.
The first step in connecting social listening to your trend analyses starts with a focus on consumer and influencer actions. How are shoppers styling yours and competitor’s products? Which unexpected things are being paired together?
This season, the concept of “less is more” is nonexistent. More is more, and shoppers are applying this notion to their jewelry purchases. The rise of gold chain layering has led to a search interest increase on gold pendant and medallion necklaces in the last three months, via StyleSage data. From layers of chunky gold chains, bold pendants paired with simple chokers, and mixed gold and silver rings, consumers are styling multiple pieces to tell a story.
In a recent KPMG study exploring what customers want from their experiences with companies, customer loyalty was linked the highest to personalization and how businesses use individualized attention to drive emotional connection. While the notion of personalization can be applied to any category, the layering trend is an open opportunity to create personalized experiences, particularly with accessories shoppers.
Oversized styling has led to a longer product lifecycle for items we thought may have died out by now (yes, dad shoes). Reminiscent of the 90s, Millennials and Gen Z continue to swap out skinny jeans for larger mom jeans, and replace fitted outerwear to make room for oversized puffer coats, longline trenches, and functional pieces.
Several physical trends stem from oversized styling including gorp/normcore, coveralls, chunky sneakers, and cargo pants. While retailers should note a shift in sizing preferences, take heed of the streetwear phenomena claiming luxury partnerships and driving mainstream popularity. We’re keeping a close eye on the oversized trend - will 2019 be the year it hits a peak?
THE OLD AND NEW
Consumers are combining vintage pieces with newer items for “reworked” styling, and shoppers will purchase vintage luxury shoes and accessories to complete their ensembles. While companies including The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective push luxury consignment, brands like Frankie Collective capitalize on vintage remixes by reworking older items into updated pieces.
In a similar vein, traditional retailers can create a competitive advantage by introducing nostalgic fashion into a private label assortment. Urban Outfitters is a prime example of a company that eloquently intertwines current and vintage trends into its brand ethos. Aside from its online vintage offering and in-store curation from local suppliers, Urban Outfitters aligns its private labels UO and BDG with the hipster lifestyle of its shoppers - and it’s working. In a Q2 earnings report, the company’s exclusive brands accounted for more than half of its revenue. Across the greater retail industry, sales growth of private-label products is now three times higher than branded products, according to research firm CB Insights.
In a retail landscape where customers are flooded with a surplus of options, consumers want authenticity. Re-introduce classic styles that have been archived or consumer favorites that have been discontinued. For instance, when Dior caught wind from social media on the buzz around its vintage saddle bag, the fashion house brought back limited editions of the classic design.
Once a fashion faux pas, head-to-toe color styling has resurfaced from the ’80s. Celebrities including Bella Hadid, Celine Dion, Solange, and Rihanna have played a pivotal role in spreading the acceptance of monochromatic looks.
For retailers, this means curating e-commerce visuals that reinforce coordinating looks (or co-ords). While the most common are suit jackets and matching sets, creative options include outerwear, top, and bottom combinations. Topshop enables shoppers to purchase a single monochromatic items together, while Zara promotes its coordinating pieces through separate looks. It’s an easy upsell to consumers, so long as you have your site merchandised to enable that!
Along with monochromatic styling, head-to-toe logo ensembles were a mainstay in 2018 fashion, and we’re keeping a close eye on its momentum this year. The synergies of streetwear and luxury have revived brands like Fila, who collaborated with Fendi (a logomania veteran), to produce a collection that embodied the oversized, vintage, and logo trend all-in-one.
Given the erratic history of logo popularity, it’s only a matter of time before interest in branded apparel fizzles. Nevertheless, spring 2019 collections boasted logomania themes, with accessories at Chanel, hosiery and sneakers at Prada, and sweatsuits and logo tops at Gucci.
Producing logo-stamped products opens the door for luxury and traditional retailers to tap into their younger markets, establishing promotional opportunities to create limited-edition pieces and exclusive branding. “Younger consumers like that you can get the item, then it’s gone, making way for something new. For us, it’s a way of not being predictable,” says Silvia Venturini Fendi, the creative director of accessories and menswear at the namesake label.
What trends are on your radar and how will you track and incorporate them into your planning strategy? Learn how you can create a first mover advantage by knowing exactly which products to greenlight to development here!