Strong Trade Performance: Korea’s swift production line, from design to retail, has existed for years – even before Korean fashion made its mark across the globe. New designs and trends were launched at lightning speed and consumers scooped them up at an almost matching rate.
Omnilytics’ analyses on the two ambitious retailers of South Korea proved that with outrageously high new-in of over 90% in the year 2018, combined sell-out rate delivered an impressive 87% with 72% at full price. There was little to suggest signs of inventory overstocking issues or the need for forced discounting, primarily seen in the Western counterpart.
Gender Neutral: Feminism has presented itself in Korean fashion through the means of defying the boundaries of stereotypical gender-labelled clothing and diverging towards a more gender-neutral approach. The rise of streetwear further blurred the lines of gender specification – most evident in ÅLAND with a strong 61% contribution of unisex assortment.
Korean Sizing: Despite targeting global consumers, Korean brands do not appear to adjust their current “small” Asian sizing to meet universal demand. This move could ultimately hurt plans for expansion, as ÅLAND’s first store in Brooklyn has drawn flak on its size system by Insider upon visit.
Next Steps for Retailers and Brands
Measure and Monitor: Routinely measuring and monitoring key performance metrics is crucial to trade success. Aside from the usual sales against inventory analysis, the measure of sell-out against new-in demonstrated in this report presented an additional perspective to indicate early signs of overstocking issues or missed opportunities.
Brands should be proactive to forecast and re-forecast the quantum of newness and adjust the phasing of launches with each analysis to stay ahead of the game.
Brand Ethos: One of the key success factors of Korean marketplaces or brands can be attributed to having a strong brand identity – ÅLAND’s authoritative streetwear and gender-neutral assortment, and Somethin’ Sweet’s pronounced charming and feminine styles. The leading brands curated by each respective retailer collectively amplify and strengthen its identity and positioning.
“One size” does not fit all: While the single size approach made possible for lightning speed production and sold well amongst the local Korean consumers, retailers and brands eyeing for global expansion, especially the West, need to adjust their design or purchase plans to cater to the relevant consumers.
Having access to data is important to analyse competitors’ performance on sizing, to determine the right sizing grid that best meets demand and to avoid overstocking.