How to Validate Demand with Fashion Trend Analysis

How to Validate Demand with Fashion Trend Analysis

Written by Aqilah ZailanJanuary 25, 2021

How to Validate Demand with Fashion Trend Analysis

For many years, the fashion industry has been set in its ways when it comes to trend analysis. In the pre-pandemic days, the inaccuracy of industry-standard trend analysis methods was not felt as deeply. But in the new consumer-driven landscape these dated practices provide an incomplete view of demand. 

Trend forecasting services, historical sales data, fashion runways and social media are some of the sources of trends used by buyers and designers. The aspirational aspect of trend forecasting services means adoption takes a long time as consumer readiness is not established yet, especially locally. Meanwhile, the unpredictable nature of the pandemic renders historical sales data obsolete as it is not indicative of future performance. Fashion runways and social media influence buyers decisions but do not always translate to sales. 

The common factor lacking in these methods is the sell-out performance of trends, which will accurately indicate if a trend is genuinely picking up steam in the market. This is where data-backed trend analysis comes in to fill the gaps.

The different methods of trend analysis

Based on the above chart, trend analytics edges out runway trend reports and trend forecasts in helping merchandisers, buyers and designers perform more predictable trend analysis. In a rapidly changing climate, other trend sources can still be a good starting point.

Layering Multiple Sources in Trend Analysis

Whether it’s social media trends, runway reports or forecasting services, layering trends with data analytics yields the most accurate results. As stated before, the different inspiration sources and trend reports provide the basis of trend analysis. 

Chic comfort has been an overarching theme throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, as lockdowns propelled remote working. Comfort quickly became the new focus for consumers and brands followed in tandem.

Vogue reported that oversized pants were a dominant feature during the Spring fashion month, seen at Louis Vuitton, The Row and Stella McCartney. Oversized jeans have emerged as the latest trend, consumers’ current needs reflected in an everyday wardrobe staple. The 80s revival and Gen Z’s fixation on the 90s further fuelled oversized jeans.

Social media dwellers would not miss this new craze either as it pops up more frequently on their feeds, donned by fashion influencers like Kylie Jenner.

Kylie Jenner wearing oversized jeans
Kylie Jenner pictured wearing oversized jeans. Source: Instagram

The media buzz is undeniable, but the real question remains: will this trend sell? Does demand for loose-fitting jeans exist in the market?

Data-Driven Trend Analysis

Every new style picked up by different trend reports can be cross-analysed on a data analytics platform like Omnilytics for further insights on the trend’s lifecycle.

Trade analysis requires tracking trade movement
Trade movement for jeans tagged as ‘oversized’ at Shein, Farfetch and PrettyLittleThing. Source: Omnilytics

Sell-out performance and new-in frequency are some of the demand signals that indicate if a trend is gaining traction or dying out. From the above chart on oversized jeans, we can conclude that demand has been steadily rising since October. 

With data from over 400 retailers in 49 different countries, the visibility of the Omnilytics dashboard allows buyers and designers to conduct accurate fashion trend analysis. Here’s how.

Identify Trending Subcategories

A high-level overview of the different jeans subcategories that indicate if they are uptrending or downtrending allows you to quickly narrow down potential styles.

trend analysis: spotting uptrending and downtrending subcategories
Uptrending and downtrending jeans subcategories. Source: Omnilytics

As oversized jeans grow more popular, subcategories like tapered & peg, wide leg and boyfriend jeans have been trending up while fitting styles like jeggings faltered. Skinny jeans are still performing well but are not the strongest subcategory.

At the same time, low product count for the relaxed silhouettes indicates a supply gap for in-demand subcategories.

trend performance for tapered & peg jeans
Trend performance for tapered & peg jeans in the US. Source: Omnilytics

Studying a trend’s trajectory over time is useful for identifying patterns like spikes or drops. As the subcategory with the highest trend score, tapered & peg jeans have been holding steady against all categories since August. Mom jeans, the iconic 80’s style falls under this subcategory and fits the criteria of loose-fitting jeans, which explains its popularity.

Along with the trend’s trajectory, the top patterns, colours and materials stocked by all brand and retailers for this subcategory are quickly identified.

Even after establishing a subcategory’s trend performance, it’s important to look into its trade performance for more concrete insights on demand.

Look into Trade Performance

Accurate trend analysis is not complete without analysing trade performance to validate demand. It’s crucial to observe at a subcategory level what drives trade – is it discounts or full-price sales?

trade analysis for jeans
Trade analysis for jeans at Farfetch, Asos, Shein, Urban Outfitters and Boohoo. Source: Omnilytics

Here, we can see that tapered & peg jeans performed the best at full price, surpassing the category average of 30.24%. It also charted the lowest discounted sell-out rate. Based on these insights, it’s clear that the demand for tapered & peg jeans is stronger compared to other subcategories.

Spot Best-selling Patterns and Colours

Performing data-backed trend analysis not only validates demand, but it is also an avenue for design and buying inspirations. Patterns and colours help brands stand out among competitors, so it’s important to spot the ones driving sell-out before the design phase begins.

pattern analysis
Pattern analysis for jeans. Source: Omnilytics

To identify the best-selling patterns, simply compare the product contribution against sell-out contribution to determine sales performance. This is also a great way to spot opportunities. Patterns that have a higher sell-out rate than product contribution indicates a supply gap that brand and retailers can fulfil. 

According to the above chart, there are opportunities in checks and geometrical patterns as both sell-out rates exceed product count.

colour analysis
Colour analysis for jeans. Source: Omnilytics

The same approach can be taken with colours to spot gaps or validate design ideas. Naturally, blue jeans had the highest product contribution and strong sell-out performance. However, brands should also invest in white and grey jeans as the demand is strong for these colours.

Changing the Status Quo 

The runways, social media and trend forecasting services are still relevant trend sources in this day and age but they are not enough. Validating emerging trends with a data-backed analysis empowers brands with accuracy and minimises risks in assortment planning. 

In an increasingly volatile market, differentiating true trends from short-lived fads is crucial and trend validation plays a central role in the process.

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