The State of Global Islamic Economy Report 2018/2019 announced that Muslims’ spending on fashion is forecasted to reach USD361 billion by 2023 – a massive opportunity for regional brands to take advantage of, especially over Eid festive season.
Ready-to-wear pieces for Eid have grown in popularity in the Southeast Asian region, with an increasing number of options at homegrown modestwear designers and brands.
Online retailers in Malaysia have reportedly seen a rise in Eid sales compared to the previous year. In this report, we reviewed ten premium brands retailing on Zalora and FashionValet in Malaysia, to draw insights on their Eid collections’ performance and bestsellers against the same period last year.
Nearly 500 data points were tracked from the launch of collections up to the eve of Eid al-Fitri on 4th June 2019 on the following brands:
- NH by Nurita Harith
- Alia B.
- Rico Rinaldi
- Afiq M
- Ezzati Amira
 “E-retailers reveal their best-selling Raya items, say sales are better compared to 2018”, Malay Mail, Jun 2019.
Brand Performance Overview
The ten premium brands had 21% more Eid products, which drove 65% more sell-outs this year compared to last year, with little discounting, signalling an overall excellent performance.
Alia B. saw a significant increase in sell-out rate with its 2019 collection launched exclusively on FashionValet, as opposed to Zalora, which was the case last year. The assortment offering embodied optimism, joy and love, which was well received by consumers. Despite launching very close to Eid, Woo/Fiziwoo and Mimpikita managed to achieve healthy sell-out without any discounting.
Afiq M and Ezzati Amira performed poorly despite having a head start launching their collections as early as Feb ’19, with almost all products being discounted by April. Meanwhile, NH by Nurita Harith saw a 20% dip in sell-out compared to previous year despite offering nearly half of its Eid assortments on discount.
The highest number of sell-outs occurred in May for most brands (Chart 2), including brands that launched as early as Feb ‘19. Overall, Eid trade only gained momentum towards the end of April and peaked in May as consumers carried out last-minute shopping.
Category & Style Overview
New-In Assortment by Category
Baju Kurung took up the most significant portion of Eid assortment, with 11 percentage point increase this year versus the previous year. Baju Kurung Modern commanded most of Baju Kurung, similar to the prior year. Having said that, Baju Kurung Kedah saw a massive 200% jump from 2018, indicating a trending style. Jubahs & Abayas and Kaftans were not represented this year.
The key styles spotted this year among the brands in focus included romantic florals, statement sleeves and delicate lace.
Floral motifs have been a staple design during Eid, in the last two years. However, new arrivals in this motif increased by 97% against last year and came in both soft and bold hues. Brands popularising this motif included Rico Rinaldi, Petra, Ezzati Amira and Alia B.
Statement sleeves, including flared, puffed, or balloon sleeves saw a whopping 119% rise compared to 2018. Mimpikita, Woo/ Fiziwoo, Alia B. and Afiq M were amongst the brands championing this style.
Although delicate lace only saw an increase of 3% in 2019, the consistent offerings further signified the popularity of this design. NH by Nurita Harith, Alia B, and Petra were among the advocates of this trend. The intricate lace fabric was either used minimally on the neck and sleeves of Baju Kurung or in a full head-to-toe ensemble.
Colour Performance Analysis
Eid is synonymous with colourful palettes in fashion, so it is little surprise that progressive colours took precedence in the new-in assortment. Petra, Kree and Ezzati Amira were bolder with their colour choices – dark, opulent colours such as burnt orange, emerald green and royal blue. NH by Nurita Harith, Woo/Fiziwoo, and Mimpikita, on the other hand, had more soft and muted colour palettes with the likes of icy blue, dusty pink, and pale purple.
Fashion colours commanded approximately 70% of total new-ins. Blue, pink and green were the popular choices for two consecutive years, with blue continued to lead in 2019. Drilling down the primary colour revealed that navy blue contributed to the most prominent offerings in 2019, as seen at Mimpikita and Kree.
Another popular colour in 2019 included purple, which showed a big jump in new-in contribution compared to last year. However, it indicated signs of overstocking, with three percentage point variance against sell-out.
Brown and black were the two core colours that appeared in this year’s top 5 new-in colours. Brown saw a significant seven percentage point increase in new-in contribution but showed signs of missed opportunities with a three percentage point variance against sell-out. Grey, another popular core colour, showed a similar result with sell-out outperformed new-in with five percentage point variance. Alia B. and Afiq M were among the brands dominating the core colours.
Bestselling Styles in Blue
Overall, the bestselling styles in blue were minimalistic and clean. Most of the bestsellers were comprised of V-neck and boat neck Baju Kurung Modern and also Kebaya.
The bestselling styles included floral motifs and lace fabric used in soft, feminine silhouettes. The lace placed on the hem of the top, neck and sleeves seemed to be shoppers’ favourite. In terms of colour tones, a distinctive play of shades spotted – either soft muted tones of icy blue or dark shades like navy blue were most favoured.
Bestselling Styles in Green
The bestselling green items were mostly in deep and vibrant shades of green such as emerald and olive green. The design, however, was more modern and elaborate with the use of ruffles, strong shoulders, head-to-toe lace and embellishments.
Besides Baju Kurung Modern, Kebaya and Peplum proved to be popular in this colour. Statement sleeves such as balloon and flared were interpreted with the use of head-to-toe lace, as seen at Petra. The floral motif trend was also incorporated in lace and printed fabric.
Bestselling Styles in Pink
Millennial Pink continued to influence the market, with bestselling pink shades comprised of soft, muted pinks.
The simple design was preferred across the bestselling styles, with soft structure, ruffles and drapes used to play into the ethereal and romantic look of the colour. Baju Kurung with a Kebaya or loose peplum cut was well received by consumers. Besides that, Mimpikita’s simple Tops in prints and embroidery to be paired with a separate pareo bottom was also popular.
Bestselling Styles in Brown
Seeing how more feminine, neutral shades of brown were the new black in Spring/Summer ‘19, the ethnicwear categories were also seen riding this wave.
Beige and nude were the most popular shades of brown among consumers. As seen on Rico Rinaldi, Baju Kurungs were given a slightly modern twist with the play of ruffles and drapes across the top and bottom of the ensemble. Most of the bestsellers came in solid brown colour with few embellishment details or in lace fabric.
Bestselling Styles in Black
Eid assortments in recent years evidenced that black was slowly being normalised for this otherwise colourful festive season. Alia B. was among the popular brands leading this colour story.
Consumers preferred minimalistic designs with classic kebaya and kurung cuts in this colour. Even with the use of eclectic ethnic prints as seen at Kree or the polka dots at Alia B., the final look remained classic and understated.
Bestselling Styles in Grey
The lack of grey offerings this year proved to be a huge missed opportunity for the brands. Looking through bestsellers data, softest grey was found to be the bestselling shade of grey.
Similar to pink, the design was more romantic and feminine with the use of ruffles and delicate lace. Some prominent designs included flouncy ruffles in chiffon material as seen at Alia B. while Mimpikita and Rico Rinaldi showcased floral prints and embroidery.
Fashion Colour Dominance: While core colour offerings increased this year, fashion colours made up the majority of Eid apparel. Blue, green and pink consistently contributed approximately 50% across newness and sell-out, signalling a must-have palette that consumers will continue to seek for Eid.
Soft and muted pastels proved to be classic favourites as seen from Woo/Fiziwoo and NH by Nurita Harith. Darker shades such as navy blue and emerald green were popular this year.
Design Shift: In recent years, Baju Raya designs have started to see a clear shift towards simple, minimalist designs. This is evident from the significant jump in Baju Kurung Kedah and the classic Baju Kurung in this year’s Eid newness.
Woo/Fiziwoo, who is better known for over-the-top pieces with unique silhouettes, have also toned down on this year’s offerings. More brands such as Whimsigirl and Merah Jambu, who are promoting comfort and practicality during the festive season have also emerged, further validating the popularity of the simple and minimalistic trend.
Next Steps for Brands
Pay Attention to Data: With consumers’ high spending habits during Eid, investing in the right assortment would prove to be a massive success for modestwear brands.
Using data to review bestselling and slow-moving colours, styles and design every year could help in building the right Eid assortment for the next season. Based on real-time data analytics, floral motifs and soft colours are must-haves for every Eid collection. The recent shift towards minimalist designs also revealed strong consumer demand.
Timely Eid Launch: As seen in Chart 1 and 2, early Eid launch does not necessarily translate into a first-mover advantage. Bringing in the product too early has failed to attract consumers who usually tend to hold off purchases until nearing Eid. Furthermore, the early launch could dampen the value of offerings as products with little movement during the Eid period would be affected by discounting exercise.
It is crucial for brands then to study their competitors’ launch timing to identify the sweet timing in launching their collection. Of course, having a strong brand identity would help, as evidenced by Woo/Fiziwoo and Mimpikita, who managed to achieve commendable sell-out performance despite later launch at higher price points.