It’s a year to the day since we last talked about printed trousers on this blog. So to celebrate their birthday, we thought we’d duck back into the data and see how life is working out for them. Did customers latch on to the hyped-up style? And what’s the prognosis for their future?
Our first port of call to gauge how any trend is developing is to delve into our commercial database of over 8 million product SKUs to see what’s going on in retail, in real-time. We can see how many new printed trousers have come into stock and how they’re selling across the hundreds of retailers we monitor globally. So, in the last 3 months we’ve seen 1,711 new printed trouser products arrive in stores. 27% of those have arrived in the last 30 days and 103 pairs in the last 7 days. With that three month snapshot, we can see arrivals are trailing off: but bear in mind the new season stock arrives in bulk in February and March. These figures suggest a healthy progress.
Next stop is to analyse the pricing structure. We know from previous studies, such as our flared vs skinny jeans report, that for a trend to reach maturity, it needs to be represented in retail with a clear two tier price structuring: serving the fast fashion customer and the luxury customer. And lucky for us, we can generate that data at the touch of a button! Looking at the key retailers of printed trousers (those who have the highest number of products available), we see a healthy spread of retailer-types. Matches and Farfetch are representing the luxury end of the trend well, with a bulk of products sitting at the $500+ price point. ASOS, House of Fraser and John Lewis are the retailers best playing to the high street end of the market, with the majority of their styles priced between $27 and $94. So far, so good. Now, are these products selling?
We judge how well a product is performing commercially by looking for fast sell-throughs, without discounting. Looking at the fast-fashion end of the market, we see the ASOS Africa printed trousers priced at £40. They came into stock on the 1st of May, have kept their price point and are now sold out in 6 of their 7 sizes. Zara, too, have seen quick success with their tropical print trousers, priced at £29.99. They arrived online on the 29th April and are now sold out in 3 of 5 sizes. Matches are the luxury retailer who invested strongest in the trend, stocking styles from Diane von Furstenberg, MaxMara and Opening Ceremony, amongst others. We’d previously mentioned their 10 day sell out of 2 of 4 sizes of the Matthew Williamson £375 Ikat floral print trousers. Their 3.1 Phillip Lim leopard print trousers at £325 are out of stock in three sizes and their extravagant £1,117 Yves Saint Laurent Palazzo Pants are out of stock in two of four sizes. So, things are looking strong commercially too. Product is varied, and selling across the board.
But is there still legroom (pardon the pun) for this trend to grow or should retailers be content with their haul? To see if there is still potential in a trend, we look to consumer sentiment – a great measure of demand. Spanning the year, we can see that the volume of online chatter has seen a few peaks across the year around the time of collections showing. More interestingly though, is the general amount of talk has steadily grown across the year and is at its most consistent now. Sentiment, too, has seen peaks and troughs – which coincide with summer seasons coming into stock. Consumers love this trend, but were less effusive across the winter. By comparing this to a trend we know has been a roaring success over the past two years – coloured denim – we can compare scale and give the trend an ‘age’ within its lifespan. In the past month, printed trousers have seen 48% more online mentions than coloured denim. In fact, there wasn’t a month in the last year that coloured denim get as many mentions as printed trousers received last month! It seems printed trousers are mere teens!
The trend is also getting mammoth backing from fashion’s tastemakers – featuring on a host of street style blogs. Fashion’s latest blogger-outing, Australian Fashion Week, saw the trend snapped widely. So it seems the trend will prevail, but only if retailers can steer it through the treacherous winter months. In fact, last week H&M previewed their Winter 2012 collection, and featuring in their key items? A pair of wintery printed trousers.