How to Remove the Guesswork from Trend Forecasting
Before Covid-19 upended the world, the industry often resorted to the same fashion trend analysis methods to gauge market demand. Trend forecasting services like WGSN are typically used to guide the fashion design and buying processes, leading to the homogenised state of the fashion landscape.
There are also other common methods used, such as…
- Historical sales performance
- Fashion runways
- Social media
But the pandemic has impacted how we operate in unprecedented ways.
Trend forecasting reports or services are aspirational-focused, with little geographical relevance. We benchmarked the top trends forecasted for S/S 2020 by WGSN against data – and found that some trends failed to translate in the context of local markets.
When it comes to trend adoption, consumer readiness is a huge factor, which is lacking in these reports.
Historical sales is not a reliable source in today’s climate either, as it is no longer indicative of future performance. Runway styles were once prominent, but are now risky if they fail to translate to commercial pieces.
And for the retailers that adopt social media trends, they’d find themselves at risk of inventory glut as likes do not equate to sales numbers.
In today’s changing climate, how should merchandisers, buyers and designers perform more predictable trend forecasting?
Validate, Validate, Validate
To meet demands, it’s important to distinguish promising trends and short-lived fads – especially as the latter is increasingly common in a world powered by social engagement.
What’s more, consumer shifts are ever-changing, which means having a firmer grasp of a trends’ lifecycle is all the more crucial.
Data validation is key. By monitoring and validating trend movements, you can create a commercial assortment, minimising guesswork and increasing confidence in decision making.
Layering trend forecasting with data analytics reflects true demand, no matter if it’s social media trends, runway reports or forecasting services.
A Data-Driven Approach to Trend Forecasting
Cottagecore is the next mega-trend propelled by the pandemic. The most popular example is Lirika Motoshi’s “strawberry dress” which became a viral sensation on TikTok.
The demand for strawberry-themed products began rising in March and spiked again in June as the dress became increasingly popular across social media.
Fashion publications such as Refinery29 too recently reported on popular summer dresses – which featured the same strawberry dress.
But the real question remains: does this reflect true demand? Should retailers invest in this trend or look into other summer styles?
The need for visibility is urgent – here’s how to conduct accurate fashion trend analysis.
Fashion market insights platform, Omnilytics, surfaces trends from 44 different countries across 400 retailers by category, colour, pattern and material.
The first step here is to have a high-level overview of the dresses in the market. By filtering the top brands and retailers for dresses in the UK, you can easily identify uprising subcategories.
Across the board, only a few subcategories are trending, such as A-Line Dresses and Swing & Trapeze Dresses. Interestingly, the latter was forecasted by WGSN for 2020, with the theme for womenswear being ‘Modern Femininity’.
Retailers like Farfetch and Nordstrom aggressively brought in new stock last year, but was met with an underwhelming response.
Now, the trend is picking up once more, in-line with the current demand for loose dressing. What’s more, with its small contribution, it signals a gap in supply.
Uncover Emerging Patterns
Looking at the trend’s trajectory, Swing & Trapeze Dresses saw a few spikes throughout the year, and exceeded the total category’s trend line from May to August 2020, proving its strong popularity.
Here, you can also spot key patterns, colours and materials of the subcategory Swing & Trapeze Dress. Florals held the highest percentage of top patterns, followed by animal prints and dots.
But even after identifying Swing & Trapeze Dress as a trend, it’s important to have a complete overview of demand.
A crucial element to trend validation is to analyse its trade performance. Did it sell out at full price – or mostly at a discounted price? What’s the full price contribution? How often is it replenished?
Based on the sections above, we’ve identified Swing & Trapeze Dresses as a trend. But is the category really worth investing in – or is it just a short-lived fad?
Here, we can see that while the category Swing & Trapeze Dresses did not have the biggest contribution, it performed the best at full price, exceeding the category average of 30.74%.
Its Total Sell Out at Discounted Price was also below the average, proving its popularity of this trend. In other words, there’s a demand for Swing & Trapeze dresses.
Another indication that this is not a short-lived fad is also in its price positioning – it had the highest median price at $36.81, proof that consumers are more than willing to pay for this style.
Trending Patterns and Colour Performances
Next up, we need to look for design and buying inspirations – what patterns and colours are the best-performing for Swing & Trapeze Dresses?
To identify the bestselling patterns, layering the sell-out contribution against the total number of SKUs gives a more comprehensive view.
As depicted by the yellow line, florals had the strongest sell-out, and had the highest contribution for all retailers (with the exception of Missguided). The pattern is also in-line with summer, a key staple for the season.
There are opportunities for polka dots and stripes too, with a higher sell-out contribution than the product contribution – which signals a gap in the market.
As for fashion colours, blue led with both a strong product and sell-out contribution, at 15.50% and 15.46% respectively. This validates Pantone’s announcement of Classic Blue as 2020 Colour of the Year.
Other summer hues, such as green and yellow, showed potential too, given its high sell-out contribution.
Changing the Current Climate
Trends do emerge from runways, social media or even services like WGSN, but building an assortment by relying solely on what’s trending, without validation, leads to a negative impact on cash flow – especially with consumers’ changing demands.
Validation is key. Having a data-driven approach to your fashion trend analysis not only adds confidence in your decision-making but also increases accuracy in meeting demand.
You might also like
Newly Revamped Support Centre: What We Upgraded
Having access to the right tool and maximising its full potential does not always go hand in hand, but that is the goal here at Omnilytics. Your success is important to us, as we believe that data insights could propel retail businesses while minimising risk at every stage. With this in mind, we doubled down […]
What Our Customers Are Saying About Us
Omnilytics strives to continuously bolster our customers’ decision-making with actionable insights delivered in the most efficient manner. The response we’ve received from brands and retailers have been instrumental to continuously develop and innovate our technology based on – what our customers love and want more of. With this in mind, we invite our customers to […]
5 Tips for Tackling the Holiday Sales Season
The significance of the holiday sales season in the midst of a pandemic is not lost on retailers. With cases rising each day, a new round of lockdowns has been imposed across pockets of Europe, Asia and Australia. Despite worries of reduced spending, the recent success of Single’s Day and Amazon’s Prime Day proved consumer […]
Why the Future of Fashion is Sustainability
Sustainability has always been on the top of fashion’s laundry list. One of the most polluting industries in the world, fashion emits more waste than the flight and shipping industries combined. Beyond its environmental effects, the industry has also been accused of multiple ethical malpractices in its workforce, often sourcing from third-world countries where thousands […]
11.11 Sale 2020 (SEA): How Top E-tailers Maximised Sales
Singles’ Day 2020 was a resounding success despite Covid-19 and a bleak economic outlook in Southeast Asia. This year’s Singles’ Day sale or regionally better known as 11.11, surpassed last year’s numbers in record time as consumers latched onto discounts offered by marketplaces such as Lazada, Shopee and more. What is Singles’ Day? Singles’ Day […]
Year-End Sales Tactics to Push Sell-Through
As we edge closer to December, fashion brands and retailers are anticipating another major retail event – the year-end sales. Aside from Black Friday and Single’s Day, the year-end sales are a long-standing promotional tactic used by retailers to clear remaining inventory of the season or a final push to hit sales targets for the […]