The Trouble with Relying Solely on Word-of-Mouth Trend Forecasts
It’s a common practice amongst merchandisers and buyers to rely on trend forecasting. Having a clear focus to build your next collection proves to be helpful, especially in today’s digitised world.
But relying solely on trend forecast lacks accuracy – a crucial ingredient needed in today’s consumer-driven, fast-moving retail landscape.
Today, fashion trends are driven by many factors. The industry is extremely volatile, as trends go as easily they come. This generation of consumers are extremely fickle-minded, constantly seeking for the newest.
What is trending today, won’t tomorrow.
In an ever-changing industry, it’s important to supply the right products at the right time to consumers.
This is where data and intuition comes in.
With data-backed validation, you’d have a stronger confidence in your trend research and forecast – helping you to build an assortment that is tailored to your market.
To elaborate on this point further, let’s take a look at this season’s colour trends while comparing the top two ultra-fast fashion retailers: ASOS and Boohoo.
Millennial Pink took off in the summer of 2016 – becoming a world-wide phenomenon. There were no stones left unturned for this nudeish-salmon pink colour.
Image Source: The Cut
However, it’s been two years since Millennial Pink consolidated its influence in the world, has the star perhaps outshined itself, or will it continue to flourish?
Consumers are losing interest.
ASOS had a slow but steady sellout rate up until April, with the highest sellout rate at 46.9% in March. But a month later, it plummeted to 16.69%. While Boohoo’s sellout rate consistently decreased, with the highest rate at 47.2% in December and lowest at 7.47% in April.
Following Millennial Pink, many searched to find a potential contender. When Pantone released 2018’s colour of the year, the question of whether Millennial Pink had finally reached its demise loomed over the fashion industry. The colour was awarded the colour of the year for its ability to ideate incentive and imagination, representing what our world needs today.
Sure, Ultraviolet ruled over runway shows such as Victoria Beckham, Proenza Schouler, Tibi and Michael Kors, but does Ultraviolet have the potential to take over the torch from Millennial Pink?
Image Source: Trendscape
ASOS consumers gained some interest, but eventually fizzled out.
Similar to Millennial Pink, Ultraviolet in ASOS experienced a slow growth in their sellout rate, with an abrupt increase of 45.9% in March. Boohoo’s strategy remained the same as it did with Millennial Pink — a consistent increase in their SKUs despite a continuous decrease in their sellout rates.
Gen Z Yellow
Generation Z has set themselves distinctly different from their preceding generations. They are identified to be more politically active and driven by change and yellow is a colour that reflects hope, joy and positivity.
Image Source: Desenroladas
Consumers showed a slightly higher interest in the colour, with more purchases compared to Millennial Pink and Ultraviolet.
In comparison to the two colours, Gen Z Yellow was the most popular colour in Boohoo, with a sellout rate of 52.5% in December. But similar to the other colours, the sellout rate decreased each month with the lowest sellout rate at 10% in April.
Data Complements Trend Forecasts
All three colours were trend forecasted as ‘colour of the year’; all three underperformed.
Accuracy plays a huge role in today’s fast-paced environment.
With data, you have the ability to validate the trends beforehand. Are Milennial Pink, Ultraviolet and Gen Z Yellow colours that my customers are buying? Are they buying from competitors? What other markets are receptive to the colours?
From there, you can then accurately decide your next course of action – one that will pay off.
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