Fandom Fashion: Why It’s a Missed Opportunity

Almost half of Millennials say they are in a fandom, but brands might be missing the opportunity to appeal to them, and create the products that celebrate their passions.

Highly connected and organized Millennial fan groups have taken fandom to a new level. In 2013, Ypulse found that Next Level Fandoms were using their numbers, passion, and organization to change the meaning of being a fan, and we recently revisited the trend to take a deeper look into this increasingly relevant space. Almost half of 13-33-year-olds now say they are in a fandom, and these connected groups are influencing brands and entertainment more than ever before. But while a huge number of Millennials and teens count themselves as members of a fandom, products celebrating those fandoms are still considered niche—and brands might be missing a big opportunity.

Our fandom research found that 58% of 13-33-year-olds in a fandom have purchased something only because it was related to their fandom, and 58% say they have worn clothing that features their fandom. Those fandom members who have purchased products related to their fandoms have spent an average of $400 on those products in the last year. When looking at fangirls specifically, 64% say they have purchased something because it was related to their fandom, and 63% have worn clothing related to their fandom. But few brands are capitalizing on the desire for fandom fashion.

Hot Topic is the clear leader in fandom retail, with a “Pop Culture” section that allows shoppers to browse clothing created major fandoms like Harry Potter, Supernatural, Dr. Who, and Adventure Time. Their products reflect the rise of fandom’s importance in youth culture. Marketplace reports: “Hot Topic was once the home base for all things emo and goth. Chokers, black rubber bracelets,…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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