If one thing is certain, is that in the fashion industry, in the 80s the queen was the brand. In the 2000s, the store was the temple, and now, we put the focus on the consumer. Is this premise being fulfilled? To find out, we must understand what we are referring to, when we mention the consumers and what are the keys to understanding them.
Last Thursday, February 6th, we attended the latest edition of the biggest congress of the fashion industry in Spain: the Barcelona Fashion Summit, by ModaEs. Josep Montserrat, CEO of the data and insights consultancy Kantar, outlined the keys to understanding the consumer in his talk: Spain in 2020: who, how, when and where buys fashion.
This blog is also available in Spanish.
Targets are disappearing: the consumer is becoming more and more liquid
The consumer in 2020 avoid labels, is a much more liquid being. A recognisable phenomenon in recent years is that people feel 10 years younger than they really are. Those in their 60s have the spirit of 50, those in their 40s have the spirit of 30... This is very much caused by the technological revolution and globalization. In fact, 48% of people surveyed admit that "it doesn't matter how old you are to dress in fashion." This leads to less segmentation between the different generations: more clothes are being shared, there's more fluidity and the targets disappear. At Luxe Talent we believe that the strategic decision to remove the TRF category from Zara's website, is due to this reason.
The TRF and Women's sections are unified in Zara | Homepage Zara 2020
Emotion as a driving force for the brand
A new role needs to be assigned to the brands. This idea is not new but it is urgent. Josep Montserrat defined the consumer in 2020 as liquid and unfaithful. We are at a moment where the offer is so brutal and in several cases, similar, that we must compete in terms of experience and emotion. This is why brands must have a purpose, as Monica Moro, General Creative Director of the McCann agency also mentioned. It also appears necessary to differentiate oneself through emotion, since consumers are betting on very specific things in the premium or luxury sectors. Today there is a great polarization: savings are made in mass consumption, to be spent in the pursuit of emotion.
A great example of a brand with a purpose was when the big buzz of Nike shoes burned in 2019.
Nike's Burning Shoes | Nike's 2018 Campaign
Consumers manage their needs
This point follows the line of the liquid consumer. Not only does the segmentation of collections disappear, but also the concept of status. We see this more and more all around us: someone who travels to Japan buys in sale clothes and someone who consumes luxury items, also dresses in fast-fashion.
The consumer no longer needs to look for a price: it's in the industry's DNA
It is difficult to determine sales seasons, as discounts themselves are already in the DNA of the textile sector. In low cost, we have the Black Friday. On the mainstrean and premium brands, we have Mid Season Sales. And finally, the premium, high-premium and luxury brands have their own outlets. A great line from Montserrat was, "the rich love to shop cheap." Retailers must move in this scenario of constant discounting.
Baby boomers, still in the spotlight:
In relation to the first point, consumers over 45 are not the same as they were 15 years ago. They have a young and casual style: they consume the same clothes as Generation X or Millennial in the same spaces, they share modern-age commodities such as Netflix or HBO. Montserrat advises us not to focus on anything else but the Millenials or Generation Z, as they still account for 50% of the sector's turnover. They have a higher disposable income and their children have already left home. Therefore, it is an income that is reduced in the expenses to be divided.
Conclusions of the presentation : Kantar - BFS2020
The liquid and rational consumer
In 2020, if there is any certainty, it is that we have moved from the aspirational to the rational. In fact, 49% of surveyed in Kandar admitted that they "dress more and more casually or informally.” This percentage has gone up 5 points in the last year. In addition, the consumer has stopped being monogamous and bets where he sees opportunity and convenience.
This is why brands, if they want to differentiate themselves and attract this new nature of consumption, must do so through purpose and emotion. It no longer counts as a unique, exquisite, or redundant, "experiential" store experience. Consumption must occur for some reason that is unique and genuine to the brand, regardless of online or offline channel.