How Fashion Retail Brands Are Fighting to Stay on Top

It’s hard out there for a retailer. As competition mounts and brick-and-mortar struggles, here’s how fashion brands big and small are fighting to stay relevant…

Amazon is, unsurprisingly, often blamed for the struggles of other retail brands, as the mammoth site continues to move aggressively into the fashion space. In fact, Millennials are reportedly buying more clothing from Amazon than any other online retailer. According to Slice Intelligence research, almost 17% of all online clothing sales by 18-34-year-olds in 2016 was through Amazon—double the amount of the second most shopped online retailer, Nordstrom. Amazon has been steadily investing more in fashion and fashion retail offerings. Its efforts, combined with a seamless shopping experience and an immense variety of product, are paying off—they even made the top ten on Ypulse’s ranking of 13-34-year-olds’ favorite places to buy clothing. (And that was before they announced their upcoming Amazon Prime Wardrobe, which everyone is comparing to players like Stitch Fix.)

But long-standing fashion brands have more than just Amazon to contend with. Brick-and-mortar has been struggling for years, thanks to less-than-exciting or convenient in-store experiences, spending shifting into experiences, and a more frugal generation. Young consumers, raised in the recession, have been trained to expect sales and to be discount shoppers. Take Nordstrom: the brand is losing favor with Millennials as they skip luxury department stores for off-price options, a recent brand equity poll shows. Nordstrom’s dipping sales back up the poll, showing a 2.8% drop at their full-price locations countered only by Nordstrom Rack’s (their discount chain) 2.4% swell. Across industries, retailers are seeing the same trend, with overall sales sliding and…

 
 

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“I observe holidays and religion-based traditions but am more connected to it as a culture than as a religion.”—Female, 27, MA

Chinese youth have a “selfie obsession” that’s changing beauty standards and creating a new tier of celebrity. The Influencer Effect is full blown in China, where young consumers are beautifying their selfies via filter apps like Meitu and plastic surgery—all in the quest to look more like wang hong, their internet celebrities. One influencer, HoneyCC, argues that “Selfies are part of Chinese culture now, and so is Meitu-editing selfies.” But some say the trend is pushing the population to become more homogenous by favoring certain features, and headlines have lashed back against the whitening of skin prevalent in social apps. (The New Yorker)

Eighty-one percent of Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily’s Millennial readers say social media is the best way for advertisers to reach them. Bustle’s latest questionnaire also found that 40% of their 18-34-year-old readers prefer Instagram for brand communications, followed by trusted websites, email, and online articles. Some other fun insights: Over half believe that a company should give back, instead of just turning a profit, and 49% think “companies should do more to protect the environment.” (Adweek)

Drug use is down among teens—except when it comes to marijuana and vaping. From the 1990s to 2017, the percentage of teens who said they’d been drunk dropped from 46% and 58%, and those reporting they’ve smoked cigarettes from 26% and 17%. However, marijuana use increased for the first time in seven years in 2017, while vaping is up as well, with at least 19% of high school seniors, 16% of sophomores, and 8% of eighth-graders saying they’ve vaped in the past year. (LATimes)

Two modern dating shows are coming to Facebook Watch. The first “unscripted dating show” from SoulPancake, Love & Longitude, is shot on iPhones and shows two potential love interests’ relationship blossoming across FaceTime, social media, and other digital interactions. The second dating show from Machinima, Co-Op Connection, plays into the esports craze. One bachelor gets to pick his partner based on their personality—and their skills at the videogame, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. (tubefiltertubefilter)

Some cities are past their “peak Millennial” populations, as the generation increasingly finds new digs in the suburbs. Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles all reached their highest Millennial population in 2015, and New York and Washington D.C. are showing slowing Millennial growth, according to U.S. Census data. Meanwhile Chicago’s suburbs and others have seen an uptick in their young adult populations—another Millennial myth debunked. Which urban centers are still attracting the demo as they age up? “Tech hubs” like Seattle and San Francisco. (Time)

“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

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