The fashion industry is detecting glimmers of hope in the fashion industry after a lacklustre 2016- one of the most challenging years the industry has ever seen. Various forecasts indicate that the sales growth with nearly triple between 2016 and 2018, from 1.5 per cent to somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 per cent. The growth will be supported by the emerging markets as more than half of apparel and footwear sales will originate outside Europe and North America. Time has come for a new Coco Channel to emerge from diversified geographies as we must agree that ‘Fashion is in the sky, in the street, Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’
The top trends that will define the fashion agenda are Globalization, Adaptation to ever-changing environment, rise of Asian trailblazers, predominance of online platforms, high customization options, usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI), more smartphone users, off-price deception, credible sustainability and the emulation of start-up thinking.
From 2017 the West will no longer be the global stronghold for fashion sales as countries in Asia-Pacific, Latin America etc. are forecasted to grow around 7.5% while matured markets in Europe and USA will grow around 2-3%.
Consumers in the emerging markets have higher consumer experience as they are very particular about convenience, price, quality and newness. They also expect perfect functionality and immediate support at all times. Their purchase decisions are now influenced by social media, peer reviews, influencer & traditional marketing as they are becoming less brand-loyal and easily willing to switch brands at ease. Responding to the above trends, top fashion players are offering unorthodox business models using granular customer insights as a source of differentiation. The leading fashion players are accelerating their speed from design to shelf. Driven partially by social media accelerating the movement of fashion trends to the masses, the ‘need for speed’ is also being attained by using analytics and customer insights to meet customer needs better and increase responsiveness. Lead time need to be shortened and it requires major changes to the traditional business model and supply chain, and a shift in focus to a customer-centric model. While laggards will face increased fashion risk and non-moving inventory, the frontrunners are building agile supply chains supported by higher-quality consumer insights-with focus on real time supply chain fed by “test and learn” and data analytics.
As the fundamentally changing industry faces a new paradigm shift it is imperative for fashion players to toughen up. Acceptance of unpredictability can only be responded by doing what is under control. To be a game changer in the lucrative markets, they have to design the new features of the modern fashion system as the opportunities at hand to connect with fashion consumers across the globe have never been better.