Featured Jan 8, 2020 6 min read

With January sales fizzling out, what new trends should you promote?

It's easy for consumers to feel fatigued by continuous sales messaging, making the time ripe to promote newness.

january sales

As year-round discounts are now commonplace, it’s easy for consumers to feel fatigued by continuous sales messaging, making the time ripe to promote newness. EDITED analyzes these emerging product trends, as well as key marketing themes retailers are communicating.

The new year has just kicked off and January sales are still one of the strongest messages retailers are communicating. This month is a critical period for brands to clear through dead stock and make way for new season arrivals. Keep reading to find out how much of these sales have carried over from 2019 and what trends retailers are offering customers for newness.

Make data your ally in the new decade and reach out to see how the EDITED Retail Decision Platform can help perfectly time your product launches and promotions.

The split between sales and newness

Analyzing products available online for menswear and womenswear in the mass market reveals that currently 56% of product online is discounted in the US and 73% in the UK. Despite these high percentages and retailers communicating sale offers this month, the majority of products weren’t reduced for January sales. 

Less than 2% of products currently available online in both the US and UK mass market received a discount this month. This means most items marked down in January sales are carried over from 2019 when retailers took reductions over the Black Friday and festive periods.

As we enter 2020, it’s apparent retailers are pulling back on products receiving their first reduction so early in the year. The number of items in January discounted for the first time in the US market so far is down by 49% YoY and 12% in the UK. Additionally, positive sales results for holiday spending in the US means retailers are less likely to continue slashing prices at the start of the new year. 

Both regions are focusing on dropping newness instead of taking markdowns. However, retailers have been cautious with phasing too much too soon. New products arriving in the US since the start of the year have been pulled back by 9% YoY. There’s a more significant decline in the UK with arrivals down 32%, indicating retailers are being conservative after sluggish holiday sales. 

january sales

Emerging January trends

Tops make up the bulk of new arrivals across menswear with shirts in the US in line with retailers merchandising workwear. This market is also placing a stronger emphasis on accessories, particularly with investments in ties, caps and scarves. Casual outerwear styles are a focus in the UK market with new technical, bomber and denim jackets all arriving over the past week. 

The EDITED Retail Decision Platform pinpoints the core colors retailers are investing in by using retail analytics and image recognition technology. 

In the US market, grey is currently the dominant shade of January menswear apparel, while UK retailers are favoring blue. New arrivals at boohooMAN saw pink pop as a fashion color, while browns and greens continued to trend for utility-inspired apparel. 

january sales

For womenswear, tops are 36% and 30% of January arrivals in the US and UK, respectively, with retailers investing in transitional knitwear styles. The puff-sleeve silhouette was one of December’s top trends and continues to emerge in pre-Spring assortments. The bottoms category made up 20% of US arrivals as retailers dropped new denim skirts and jeans. Additionally, pencil skirts were of note, complementing back-to-work promotions. Dresses are currently stronger in the UK, making up 17% of new arrivals. Topshop was one of the retailers that continued to promote midi dresses in the new year, including updates to the successful style in a ‘winter dress’ edit.

Blues make up the bulk of women’s arrivals as retailers launch new denim styles. With Classic Blue as Pantone’s Color of 2020, we can expect arrivals in this hue to continue to grow throughout the year as well as influence other categories. The buzz surrounding the Versace palm print dress as seen on J.Lo during the Spring 2020 runway will see greens as a major shade in 2020. This color equaled 13% of arrivals in both regions. Neutrals are also to note in the UK market so look to tonal dressing and earthy shades for your communications in the new season.

january sales

For a deeper dive into 2020 trends, check out our recent report.

What will retailers be talking about this month?

Keeping with the ‘new year, new me’ mantra, January is the go-to month for retailers to promote activewear. With the importance of building a self-care routine, retailers such as Nasty Gal have weaved loungewear products into activewear promotions, reassuring consumers that chilling out is just as vital as working out. Towards the end of December, J.Crew began promoting new denim edits, which are now a major theme within January communications. Madewell bucked the trend and pushed corduroy instead. Green continues to bubble up in emails for pre-Spring ranges, featuring as a hero color in knitwear and outerwear. 

Themes to promote throughout January:



Transitional outerwear




Green hues

Every week, EDITED rounds up the key promotional messages for you ahead of your marketing meeting in our Visual Merchandising Update. Keep an eye out for them by logging into our Retail Reports

Want more data-backed analysis freshly delivered to your inbox this year? Sign up to our Insider Briefing and stay in the know.