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Featured Jul 5, 2018 4 min read

Hot summer hits: these were Q2’s bestselling trends

Confession time! How many of these Q2 trends did you buy into? And if you're in retail, here's hoping you put serious dollars behind these!

Q2 trends

Another quarter done, we can now look back and see the stuff consumers couldn’t get enough of. How did you buy into these mega trends?

Before we get to the big trend hits, we should do some shoutouts to the retailers who rocked retail in Q2 2018. These guys should be feeling warm fuzzies for their work over the last three months.  

Crushing it for Q2

  • The Spanish champ Mango whizzed through the quarter with a trail of consumer hits. Its miniature beaded bag has been called the ‘bag of the season‘ by Elle Australia and its stylish maternity, plus size and ethical ranges shows the retailer’s understanding of consumers’ varied priorities. Keep it up!    
  • J.Crew has had a busy quarter, getting some great footing on its transformation with the hire of chief design officer Johanna Uurasjarvi. Her work at West Elm translated modernist furniture trends for the masses and she’s in a good position to revamp the assortment at J.Crew. Sibling store Madewell reported 31% growth at established stores – now consistently delivering well-priced, differentiated product for its customers.  
  • Kohl’s is climbing, with new CEO Michelle Gass at the helm, its Q2 ending May 5 saw revenue climb 4.21 billion and comparative sales grow 3.6%. The retailer has already started hiring for back-to-school and holiday – lookout for some serious strategy kicking into play!
  • The recent shifts at Target are paying off, with comp sales up 3% and digital up 28% in their quarter closing May 5.   The retailer has made big efforts in cross-merchandizing departments and a real push in the beauty category – perfect timing it seems.  
  • Nike just posted its fourth quarter revenues of 13% globally. Particularly rewarding is 3% growth in North America, following four straight quarters without. Nike is making real in-roads direct-to-consumer in its home territory. And hype-sensations like the fanny pack pool sliders are genius.  

How they did it

There is a consistent theme from the successful brands and retailers: make stuff your own customer wants, and do away with the rest. Differentiation is the holy grail in retail this year. Target has tapped into the beauty demand from its price-sensitive shoppers, Mango has identified the ethical values of its shoppers and J.Crew knows it needs to sit closer to its shoppers’ tastes.

But making stuff specific to your own shopper isn’t easy. Not when there’s daily distractions in the industry like promotions, price shifts and new launches.

We’ve been working with our customers to make sure they have all the information at their fingertips so they can get on and make great things. And it’s nice all round when that pays off!

One of the ways retailers do so well is by timing their trends immaculately. Here’s the winners from Q2 – the stuff that was met with a resounding yes from consumers. How did you do?  

1. Stripes for everyone

Stripes are the print of the season, with new arrivals climbing 58.5% from Q2 2017 and the print’s presence in bestsellers (as defined by selling through full price, within the quarter) lifting 34%. This one has worked across menswear and womenswear and runs the full gambit from value to luxury.

Rainbow stripes specifically have leapt, with new arrivals up 337% and sell outs up 280%. Consumers embracing Pride and festival stories this quarter has driven the success.  

2. Polka dots

There aren’t as many polka dots retailing, but their growth has been outstanding, with new arrivals lifting 72% and sell outs up 76%. The trend is more focused on womenswear, but has been a hit in both mass and luxury markets – a good indication it’ll be a hit for Fall 2018 too.  

3. Fanny packs

The industry has been buzzy about fanny packs/bum bags for a few seasons, but Q2 should be known as the quarter they finally became a hit. New arrivals lifted 120% and sellouts grew 359% compared to Q2 2017.  

And you can see why – there were just two mentions of the bag in Q2 2017 retailer newsletters, but 46 this year.  

4. Wrap skirts

Wrapped-anything walked out of stores in Q2, but one of the leaders was the wrap skirt. A 274% increase in new arrivals led to a 272% increase in top sellers. The style is well split across segments, with 48% of products retailing on the mass market, and 21% in luxury.

Ganni and Isabel Marant led in the premium brand stakes, and Pretty Little Thing (who had twice as many own brand styles as normally so-fast ASOS), Forever 21 and ASOS were the retailers with the largest assortments. Almost half of all new wrap skirt arrivals were patterned.  

5. Yellow (still) shining bright

We checked in on the popularity of saturated shades here, and now more proof in yellow’s presence on this list. Retailers didn’t back the trend as much as they could – a 26.5% increase in new arrivals but 33% increase in sell outs shows consumer demand outstripped supply.

Retail was happy to talk about the trend, shown in the 44% increase in newsletter mentions.  

6. Pink outerwear

They made the list of Q1 bestsellers, and they’re still going strong: pink blazers not only saw a 33% lift in luxury new arrivals, but a 76% increase in bestsellers.

A strong average price point of $593.96 in the US and $546.92 in the UK shows this one hasn’t slid into the discount pile yet.  

7. Tie front tops

This one is a micro-trend for the season, powered by heatwaves. The tie-fronted top (and its often risqué neckline) grow 162% in new arrivals and 198% for sell outs. If you didn’t back it already, don’t get into it for Fall: 72% of new arrivals were in value and mass.

8. Men’s side-striped strides

We’ve said it before: it’s an exciting time to be in menswear. This one proves it – demonstrating just how rapidly trends can now shift in the men’s segment. Pants with side-stripes or piping lifted by 448% in Q2 from one year ago and, showing that the male shopper is faster than ever on the trend-uptake, sell outs climbed 408%.

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