Now, more than ever, the retail industry seems obsessed with
millennials. Digital retail, retail eco-design and other modern innovations
indicate just how quickly the industry’s transforming. But as it changes,
it also needs to know who it’s targeting to avoid errors and to continue
attracting new consumers.
Planning actions knowing that they will work “safely” has almost become
an enigma for retailers, but they can already take some basic principles
into account. Market trends are on the rise: Amazon, T-Mall and Zalando are
among the favourite platforms for new consumers who now can buy the same
products from almost anywhere in the world. According to Judy A. Russell, a
global marketing strategist for the nylon manufacturer, Nilit, M-Commerce
(mobile-commerce) and 5G will continue to grow and accelerate the creation
of new technologies for an increasingly practical, fun and fast
We can already see that Millennials, who are even better connected than
their elders, receive information at extraordinary speed. They know exactly
what they are buying as well as exactly what they want and when they want
“However, the current fashion market is confronted with production
chains that still focus too much on reducing costs, hence reducing quality
and transparency, which leads to a lack of consumer interest,” says Russell
What are today’s consumer trends?
Young consumers live more for the present and like on-the-spot
purchases. At the Mare di Moda fair held in Cannes in November, Judy A.
Russell explained that they are choosing brands that offer better quality,
more transparent manufacturing processes and those that focus on their
values and authenticity. “Besides, if Fila and Champion are back, it’s not
only because the 90s are in fashion, but above all because they offer
authenticity and original models that are widely sought after.
“For new consumers, comfort is more important than style. They will
favour this and may use these same items at different times during the
”Shopping should still be fun and considered a new experience that makes
people feel good. We are looking for the experience of the moment rather
than the product that people will take home or have delivered.”
Streetwear and athleisure are among today’s top trends. Millennials
break codes and blend styles. Taking care of themselves, eating organic or
vegan foods, and practicing sports or yoga every day have all become common
trends that lead them to choose more casual and sporty outfits.
A new community of activists
Fashion Revolution or “fashtivism” is clearly on the rise as “slow
fashion” continues to grow. At North Face, for example, the Clothes the
Loop programme encourages people to leave their used clothes and shoes of
all brands at US stores, where they can be recycled in exchange for a
coupon on their next purchase of that brand.
Political commitment is also a trend. “Sex doesn’t sell any more,
activism does,” wrote The Guardian journalist, Alex Holder, in a 2017
article. In fact, in the consumer bubble, stylized slogans and politicized
hashtags accompany product launches with great effect.
Globalization and new concepts of time
Amazon has sites in 16 countries and delivers its products to most parts
of the world, while Zara, H&M, Primark, Mango, Levi’s, Under Love or Track
& Field continue to expand rapidly. “Access to fashion products is global,
regardless of origin, culture or religion, and young consumers travel much
more than older ones. Distances are reduced and consumption is almost in
unison,” Russell said.
And since the future is still impossible to predict in a changing
system, retailers must react quickly. Some like Burberry or Tom Ford have
opted for the “See now, buy now” concept, where consumers can buy directly
what they see during fashion parades instead of having to wait several
months. Others resist. For luxury brands it can be difficult in the face of
a constant demand for novelties and the long manufacturing cycles required
to create rich fabrics or hand-sewn bags.
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From short to long production cycles, if retailers are to prosper they
must position themselves in a world where polarities are increasingly
marked, and one that gives access to two completely different ways of
This article was originally written for FashionUnited.fr by
Anne-Sophie Castro before being translated into English.
Photo credit: Pixabay