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Luxury fashion market up 3% in 2013

The first in EDITD's two part year-in-review looks at the key industry headlines of 2013 and the changes with the most impact. Year passed in a flash? Here's your recap.
Luxury fashion market up 3% in 2013 | EDITED
  • Hermes homepage October 2013 EDITD
  • Rihanna River Island, LFW show. Image courtesy of ©
  • Bangladesh factory collapse, image courtesy of Reuters
  • Mary Katrantzou website
  • Agi-&-Sam-SS14-EDITD

As we head into the festive season, it’s a chance for retail to look back over the past year and reflect on the hits and misses for 2013. It’s been a bumper year with a host designer reshuffles at top brands, invigoration in the denim market, brands taking the plunge with e-tail and others going live with IPOs. In the first of our two part series, we’ve picked 2013’s top 5 – the stories, changes and trends, which have had the most impact industry-wide.

1. U.S is the biggest market for luxury

Reportage from the luxury market has presented a confusing message through the last 12 months, with some headlines speaking positively of a 3% yearly growth, and others decrying the slowing of the market. As the year draws to a close, the takeaway points are that 2013 has seen the slowest growth of the luxury market since 2009, with just 3% year-on-year real value gains. However, some areas are booming: The Americas are the main growth engine of the market, followed by South East Asia, Australia and Africa. Meanwhile, the growth in China is stabilising and Europe remains a big challenge for the sector, although it will continue to grow at the same pace as the overall market thanks to tourist spending, which has offset the decline in local spend.

The U.S. remains the biggest market for luxury, followed by Japan and Italy. 2013 sees China step ahead of France in fourth and fifth positions. Accessories is the fastest growing (and largest) category within luxury, and within that, super-luxury products, with no logo and using the finest materials and craftsmanship skills offer the most opportunity for logo-weary luxury consumers.

2. Celebrity collaborations grow up

Retail and celebrity (or celebrity-designer) collaborations got serious in 2013, specifically one-offs, which sell out in seconds. Retailers have got savvy, knowing that consumer tastes in style leaders don’t shift seasonally. Instead, the best collaborations of the year have played out across two seasons or are the second time the retailer has worked with designer/celebrity, profiting doubly from the hype and marketing campaigns. Meadham Kirchhoff and Kate Bosworth are back at Topshop for their second stint, as was J.W. Anderson. Rihanna’s relationship with River Island is a roaring success and now in its second season. Celia Birtwell is back for round two with Uniqlo, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley continues her success at Marks & Spencer and Matthew Williamson makes it a double for Swedish retailer Lindex. It’s a great way to optimise the initial pairing, gaining an understanding of demand and building upon an already established relationship with the celebrity or creative. H&M may want to get Isabel back on the phone…

3. Bangladesh tragedies

April’s devastating factory collapse, and two other incidents of Bangladesh factory fires were the catalysts for a (long-overdue) discourse on workers conditions from within the industry and, vitally, from consumers. As a result, in May 2013 the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was established, with signatories committing to a five year contract to implement health and safety measures and ensure that the Bangladesh Ready Made Garment Industry is sustainable. Now over 100 retailers have signed up, including Primark, Next, M&S, H&M, Mango and Adidas – all contributing based on the scale of their production within Bangladesh.

Hopefully, going into 2014 and beyond, this will increase consumer questioning  and awareness of where and how their products are made to ensure a safer future for garment workers around the world.

4. Going global

With the passing of each year in the digital era we see more and more brands and retailers establishing in new global locations. This year’s roll call includes: J.Crew and Phillip Lim opening in London, Anya Hindmarch open and COS readying for their New York stores, Whistles announcing stores in Hong Kong and China and Uniqlo prepping for their Australian and German expansions. Meanwhile designers are managing to harness their luxury experience online and expand digitally, with Mary Katrantzou and Victoria Beckham new to e-tail and Alexander McQueen offering international shipping for the first time this year.

With the insight that a global online presence affords brands and retailers, we only expect to see an increase in well-placed and successful international store openings in the coming years.

5. Menswear magic

2013 has seen menswear gain increased industry respect as the category undergoes a renaissance. Driven by the success of menswear e-commerce and an increasing number of media platforms for luxury menswear, last June saw The British Fashion Council launch a standalone menswear fashion week, London Collections: Men. The bi-annual events have been a huge success. Meanwhile, established womenswear retailers are launching menswear collections to get in on the action; Whistles will launch their first menswear collection in the new year. Our market analytics shows menswear to have a lower proportion of products discounted than womenswear or childrenswear – a good sign of a buoyant market.

World’s best brands and retailers use EDITD’s software to stay ahead in the fast-paced and competitive environment. Stay tuned for our next post where we reveal 2013’s top 10 product trends. Sign up to EDITD’s Insider Briefings today and you’ll never miss a post.