MUCH CLOSER TO HOME
Move over, China and India. Eastern European countries like Romania and Bulgaria are now attracting more production from fashion brands, competing head-to-head with Asian hubs in terms of technical ability and low wages. Moreover, their higher quality, the weakened value of the euro, and proximity to core consumer markets translate into a more responsive supply chain for brands.
On a side note, India has moved to ban cattle slaughter, which doesn't bode well for meeting the fashion industry's demand for buffalo leather.
SO SAYS PETER PIPER
If you haven't downloaded and read Mary Meeker's 2017 Internet Trends Report yet, you should probably do so now. It's a bible relied on by investors and technologists, tapping into Meeker's data-driven crystal ball in order to identify the next market opportunities.
Business of Fashion connects the dots for you by pointing out the trends relevant to the fashion industry: online advertising and commerce are the way forward. The shopping experience should include more elements of gamification. The modern consumer wants infinite choices and easy discovery to go hand-in-hand with curated discovery and personalization.
To whet your appetite for intel on everybody's biggest competitor, Fung Global Retail & Technology presented a report on everything you need to know about Amazon in 20 charts. One key takeaway for fashion is that millennials make up the biggest percentage of shoppers making apparel purchases on Amazon.
NOT OVER YET
This one caught us (a bit) off-guard. Michael Kors announced on Wednesday their plans to shut down 100-125 full-price stores within the next two years, for an estimated $60M annual savings. All thanks to the usual culprits: slowing foot traffic and difficulty selling at full-price. In a new white paper published by Retail Week, research found that 25% of customers never buy at full-price and that 85% of global consumers will hunt for discounts and the best prices online and offline.
☀️ THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT ☀️
In the recently released Worldwide Luxury Market Monitor by Bain & Company, the luxury sector has reason to smile and be merry. The industry will recover steadily in 2017, with a year-end forecast of 2-4% growth. The primary drivers of this growth are the return of China's luxury appetite, a boost in European tourism confidence, and the laser focus of luxury brands in courting the millennial consumer. Federica Levato, partner at Bain & Company, advises on the need to have a 360° engagement plan with consumers.