Trend Validation is Key: The runways and Pantone have been used by brands for many years to curate their collections. While runway trends have higher accuracy than trend forecasting, some seasonal colours did not take off as predicted once they reached the masses.
Based on Chart 1, some colours which were popular across influencers such as Orange Tiger and Dark Cheddar were not invested aggressively by retailers in Fall/Winter 2019 as newness intake showed a decline throughout the season. However, sell-out data for these shades were promising.
Growing Power of Social Media: The growing dependence on social media is showing no sign of slowing down, making it an important avenue to scout for trends. As clearly demonstrated in Chart 2 and 3, clothes seen on influencers and their colour-curated Instagram feed evidently have significant impact on retail performance. Despite certain colours such as neon green and pink not being included in the season’s key colours, these shades have proven to be relevant for multiple seasons now. Brands however were not reacting to the demand accordingly with decreasing newness seen during Fall/Winter 2019.
Next Steps for Brands
Validate Trends Using Data Analytics: As seen from Ultra Violet’s performance in 2018, relying solely on runway trends is risky. By charting and monitoring the monthly growth of specific trends over a time period will help brands make informed decision with higher rate of success.
With trend analytics, brands can be more optimistic and confidently approach the 2020 Colour of the Year by consistently stocking items in this colour, judging from the stable historical data of new-in and sell-out count of the shade.
Be Aware of Trend Sources: Although core colours consistently make up a higher portion of sell-out and are easier to get right, brands should also pay attention to key seasonal colours. While doing so, it is important for brands to not lose sight of other trend-led avenues such as Instagram and street style, where trends are established by consumers, not retailers.
As influencers continue to play a pivotal role in retail, getting the right product at the right time to consumers is even more crucial. Therefore, brands that choose to disregard, or are slow to react to colour trends from social media – and validate them with data – will lose out in sales and eventually market share.