Battle of the Brands: Missguided vs. Fashion Nova

Fashion has never been faster, and both Missguided and Fashion Nova are prime examples. But question is: which brand is leading in this fast fashion race?

By Ashley Looi

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content image-cover Battle of the Brands: Missguided vs. Fashion Nova

Introduction

According to Forbes, the relentless fast fashion industry has slowed in recent months, believed to be the outcome of major consumer shifts.

There have been warnings of  a “retail apocalypse” for major brick-and-mortar retailers as discussed by Business Insider, with Forever 21’s filing for bankruptcy blamed on the growth of e-commerce. H&M also announced the closure of 160 stores earlier this year, after deep discounting to drive out more than $4 billion in unsold inventory.

Increasing awareness on environmental issues and sustainability are also impacting the fast fashion industry adversely. Research by Global Fashion Agenda revealed that more than 50% of consumers would transition to other brands if offered environmentally and socially conscious options.

Rising above these challenges, Missguided and Fashion Nova are the two fashion giants that continue to gain popularity, driven by demands from consumers at the other extreme. These ultra-fast fashion brands are online-centric with only a handful of brick-and-mortar stores, yet manage to offer hundreds of new styles weekly.

In this report, more than 100,000 data points were analysed online from January to September 2019 on Missguided and Fashion Nova, to compare and define their successes within newness.

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New-In vs. Sell-Out Analysis

Sell-Out Performance

Despite having a higher median price, Missguided managed to outperform Fashion Nova in terms of sell-out at 67% with half the SKU count. Despite having a high percentage of discounted products, Missguided still pulled off a high sell-out rate at full price – 82% compared to Fashion Nova’s 72%.

A larger SKU count with lower pricing does not determine the success of a brand, as proven by Missguided’s strategy.

 

Campaign Releases

Fashion Nova launched its Summer 2019 campaign entitled “Pack Your Bags, NovaBabe!” in May, which drove the spike in sales as represented in next page’s chart.

Around the same time, Missguided released its “almost free-kini” in June, priced at precisely £1[1]. The campaign caused a big uproar and Missguided received backlash for the unsustainable practice behind it.

 

 

 

 

 

Note: [1] Subscribe to Omnilytics dashboard to access the module

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New-In vs. Sell-Out Movement

Both brands launched a steady volume of newness in Spring/Summer before dipping in June.

Missguided had a relatively stable SKU count over the same period, while newness continued to decline for Fashion Nova throughout the end of Summer and into Fall.  This signaled an over-stocking situation for Fashion Nova, especially when sell-out experienced sharp fluctuation in Spring/Summer before stabilising after June.

Meanwhile, Missguided had good sell-out in Spring/Summer, peaking in the month of June.

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Top Categories

The two brands had a combined new-in SKU count of 50,176 with a diverse assortment selection.

Top 5 apparel categories with the most newness:

  1. Dresses
  2. Tops
  3. Jumpsuits & Playsuits
  4. Outerwear
  5. Co-ords

 

Top 3 non-apparel categories with the most newness:

  1. Jewellery
  2. Shoes
  3. Eyewear

 

Co-ords overtook Pants & Leggings, with the latter usually entering top 5 categories. The co-ord looks took off following back from celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whitley and Priyanka Chopra. The trend has also expanded beyond the smart tailored look and now includes crop tops with matching skirts and shorts.

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Key Subcategories

New-in Assortment by Subcategory for Apparel

Missguided had a large contribution of Bodycon Dresses, amounting to 21% of the Dresses category, followed by Cami Dresses and Wrap Dresses at 13% and 8% respectively.

The main volume driver for both brands in Tops was Bodies, taking up 28% of Fashion Nova’s contribution and 34% of Missguided’s. Bodies rose in popularity following the launch of Kim Kardashian’s new shapewear line, SKIMS. Additionally, beige has been trending since appearing in Spring/Summer 2019 runways. The runner-up for newness in the Tops category was Crop Tops.

 

New-in Assortment by Subcategory for Non-Apparel

In the Shoes category, the subcategories with high newness were Heels, Sandals & Flip Flops and Boots. Barely-there was a popular style within the Sandals subcategory.

Over 70% of the new products in Jewellery were Earrings and Necklaces. Most of the new-in products for the period were statement jewellery with large hoops and chunky chains.

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Newness Pricing

Pricing Strategy

About 75% of the new-in assortment for both brands was priced between USD 10 – USD 40, with a concentration at the USD 10 – USD 20 price band.

 

Key Categories in USD 10 – USD 40 Price Band

  1. Dresses
  2. Tops
  3. Outerwear
  4. Shoes
  5. Pants & Leggings

 

Key Categories in USD 10 – USD 20 Price Band

  1. Dresses
  2. Outerwear
  3. Tops
  4. Shoes
  5. Pants & Leggings

 

Outerwear was a strong contender, performing well in both categories despite the margins.

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Size Inclusivity

Body positivity continues to be a trending topic in the fashion industry, with more brands catering to a wider range of sizing in support of inclusivity.

 

Plus Sizes

Fashion Nova Curve and Missguided Plus adopt different brand communication strategies. Missguided Plus is seen as an extended range of the existing products, while Fashion Nova Curve has its own Instagram account, enabling Fashion Nova to craft specific brand messaging for its targeted market.

 

Petite and Tall Sizes

Missguided takes a route of narrow offering across  a broader range of body shapes which include petite and tall sizes.

 

Assortment Count by Brand

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Celebrity Influence

Leading the pack in the online fashion sphere, Fashion Nova was the most searched brand in 2018, with a massive following of 16.5 million on Instagram. In contrast, Missguided has a modest 4.8 million followers.

Missguided and Fashion Nova have brilliantly capitalized on the power of influencers and social media.

 

Celebrities

Stars like Gigi Hadid, Taylor Swift and Jade Thirlwall have been spotted wearing ensembles from Missguided. Likewise, the publicity Missguided has gained from Jade Thirlwall wearing their clothes at events that receive international attention like Coachella is a great sales driver.

Fashion Nova endorses celebrities like Khloe Kardashian, Jordyn Woods and Blac Chyna to wear its products and post the outfits on social media. Fashion Nova can pay celebrities as much as USD 20,000 just to promote its clothes. The influencers under Fashion Nova’s belt use the hastag #Novababes.

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Collaborations

Celebrity Collaboration

Aside from getting celebrities to wear their clothes, these brands also work closely with them to release carefully curated collaborations.

Madison Beer, Jourdan Dunn and Sofia Richie have collaborated with Missguided to release limited time collections. Similarly, Fashion Nova partnered with Cardi B, Kylie Jenner and Amber Rose to produce collections. The collections generated a lot of buzz and anticipation. The first Fashion Nova x Cardi B collection sold out immediately after its release. It is also reported that the debut of her second collection saw USD 1 million within the first 24 hours, outperforming the first one.

 

Customer Collaboration

Missguided encourages its customers to post their Missguided outfits on Instagram while tagging #babesofmissguided in hopes of being featured and winning cash vouchers. This is a key difference between the two brands.

Fashion Nova relies more on the power of influencers whereas Missguided focuses more in engaging actual customers to increase the product visibility and drive brand PR.

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Conclusion

Main Findings

High Newness Doesn’t Guarantee High Sell-Out: While Fashion Nova launched twice the newness volume of Missguided this year-to-date, the former brand delivered lower sell-out rate.

Its sharp fluctuations in Spring/Summer signalled an over-stocking situation, with the declining newness in Fall pointing to a corrective measure in action.

 

Inclusivity: All rounded size inclusivity is important to Missguided, with its plus size, petite and tall collections. Meanwhile, Fashion Nova focuses on driving size inclusivity from just plus sizes.

 

Customer Engagement: Both brands leverage heavily on social media marketing and celebrity star power to increase brand awareness and product visibility.

Meanwhile, Missguided stood out with also engaging with its actual customers, potentializing selfie-marketing with #babesofmissguided having garnered over 270k posts and counting.

 

Next Steps for Brands

Potentialize Rising Categories with Data: Co-ords and Bodies have emerged as key categories this year-to-date for the fast fashion segment.  Mid-market brands can now monitor performance of leading brands and identify actual bestselling SKUs for design adoptions with Omnilytics data.

 

A Holistic Approach: A misstep in backing the incorrect widths of newness for these ultra fast fashion brands will lead to damaging over-stock, as seen at Fashion Nova.

Unlike the ultra fast fashion and fast fashion giants, the majority of mid-market brands cannot afford such missteps. A holistic approach, that combines internal data with competitors’ data, and further layered with market-leading brands’ data, not only provides insights on what worked and did not work, but also offers early trend detection which validates the direction for new assortment planning. With this approach, brands can make informed decisions and execute new trends with confidence.

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