Consumer behaviour has greatly shifted in today’s Covid-19 landscape, which means trends are more volatile than before.
With an ever-changing landscape, it is imperative that brands and retailers pay close attention to market signals for quick actions.
Yet, for most, the vision for trends remains aspirationally-focused, with a strong emphasis on aesthetics, rather than demand.
Fashion collections are often developed based on social media trends and forecast reports, as merchandisers and buyers use these approaches to predict consumer demand.
But these methods also provide limited insight into demand validation – the actual trends’ performance. Likes and comments are not reflective of actual product performance, forecast reports are aspirational-focused instead of commercially-balanced.
This presents a higher risk of adopting a declining trend, leading to an accumulation of inventory. As the trends are not translated through the lens of a local market, they often fail to take off especially when the consumer is not ready.
To build an assortment that accurately meets consumer demand, brands and retailers must perform trend validation with fashion market insights.
This is a critical step in assortment planning. Benchmarking against product movement and sell-out rates, you can easily identify opportunities and adopt rising trends, while at the same time avoid declining styles.
Below are the key steps on validating trends, specifically focusing on patterns.
Step 1: Identify What Are the Trending Patterns in the Market
The first step is to have a high-level market overview over the past three months by analysing uptrending (or downtrending) patterns.
Here, checks and stripes saw an uptick, while floral, graphic, animal and tropical prints showed negative scores.
Having access to fashion market insights tools like this helps you to easily identify potential uptrending patterns.
Further validate both uptrending patterns, check and stripes, by extending the analysis period over the last 12 months for a deep dive. It’s important to validate the trend movement against performance metrics before investment.
Step 2: Analyse Which Performing Categories to Invest In
The next step is to identify which categories are performing well (in the specific pattern) at full price.
For instance, the chart above shows that checks pattern sold well for tops, dresses and outerwear in the United Kingdom.
You can now prioritise these categories to have higher contributions of check pattern against solids in assortment planning.
Step 3: Identify Which Retailers are Carrying the Trending Patterns
We then need to identify which retailers are stocking up on the uptrending patterns to understand demand.
Asos and Boohoo, the leading retailers in the United Kingdom, both carried checks and stripes in their assortments.
Step 4: Validate Demand by Understanding Sell-out Performance
After, we then study the sell-out contribution of both checks and stripes.
In the chart below, checks pattern took up 37% and 7% of total assortments for Asos and Boohoo respectively, with on par sell out contribution.
This means customers responded well to the check patterned products, with Asos seeing greater demand with sell-out contribution at 35.23% outperformed in-stock at 31.60%.
Diving into Asos product images of key categories will provide deeper insights on the types of checks and other detailings on checked products to support assortment planning.
Top products in checks and stripes. Image Source: Omnilytics Dashboard
Validation is Key
Fashion brands and retailers must not only identify which trends are picking up in the market, but also validate demand.
Conducting an in-depth fashion trend analysis gives a clearer understanding of what your consumers are looking for.