No doubt you’ve caught up on our fashion week reports for AW12/13 New York, London, Milan and Paris, assessing the online consumer buzz surrounding the key new trends. But how valuable is this sort of information? Do the trends consumers talk about at show time actually translate into sales when they land months later? With our data we revisited our SS12 report findings, to investigate which retailers backed the big trends and how they’re now selling.
During SS12 fashion month last September, we analysed consumer and influencer chatter on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Retro and feminine styling proved to be the most popular themes whilst florals emerged as the top print, racking up some serious online airtime, with explorations in digital and painterly styles. Retailers, both on and off the highstreet, reacted. Our Visual Merchandising tool captures a snapshot every time a brand or retailer updates their homepages, category pages or sends out a newsletter. The archived library is a really useful way of determining which trends are being backed and assessing if they’re working. We recorded that Net-a-Porter launched a floral assault on the 9th March with a full homepage update – and it worked! The featured Elizabeth and James floral print silk jacket, priced at £280 is now out of stock in four sizes. The accompanying palazzo pants, which also featured, have sold out in two sizes.
Selfridges also put their energies into floral prints – on the 15th April they sent out a ‘Print Mash-up’ newsletter, featuring designs from Peter Pilotto and Sportmax. Pilotto’s Botanical Print Dress at £495 , sold out on their online site in 3 sizes, as did the £485 Coloumn Top. Matches, meanwhile, plumped for two of the season’s killer trends. On the 6th April, their ‘How to rock print’ email featured Matthew Williamson‘s Floral Ikat Print Trousers. Just ten days later, they had sold out of 2 of their 4 sizes of the £375 trousers. The following week, they launched their ‘Line of Beauty’ newsletter which heavily subscribed to the feminine trend with floaty fabrics, whimsical prints and soft palette. Cue two killer success stories. Both the £3,113 Alexander McQueen Anemone print dress and Erdem‘s £3,500 Roxanne dress saw size sell outs with days of the email’s launch.
So buyers chose the right trends to back at premium retailers, but which retailers followed the crowd, and were they led up the right track? H&M‘s Trend Update was full-on retro, with nipped waist dresses, pencil skirts and blouses. For them, it worked. Their £34.99 pastel coloured dress sold out in three sizes in 8 days earlier this month. Topshop took the feminine trend to girly extremes with their ‘Pageant Princess’ newsletter shopping edit. The featured Premium Bonded Lace Dress, priced at £75 sold out of three sizes in two weeks. River Island made a more unusual choice, opting to back paisley prints. This was a wise move, as paisley was the second most talked-about print at London Fashion Week (after florals) and plays directly to River Island’s local customers. Their 10th April ‘Tailor Made’ email featured a £45 paisley print blazer, which sold out of all 7 sizes within three days of the email’s online launch. The featured trousers, at £30, had also sold out of 6 sizes on the day of the email.
Pretty impressive stuff all round. And guess what? The evidence is all there. Consumers really do know what they want to buy, and buy it they do. It even boils down to localised demands, as UK retailer River Island showed. So, listen to customers and stay ahead. They speak, we measure. Get yourself over to our Autumn/Winter reports sharpish!