Tim Silver, our Head Of Tech and Lord Of Data, shared his reflections on this season's shopping trends and what that means for your brand in 2019.
Christmas has been a very odd season in 2018. One trend that we have seen over the last few years, especially since Black Friday has become so prevalent in the UK, is the trade in November getting closer and closer to December.
By that, I mean that the folks who 5-6 years ago ordered in plenty of time for Christmas are now waiting until later and later to place their orders. The trigger for that over the last couple of years has been Black Friday.
This year we did a series of scenario-planning before Christmas to try and predict which way it would go, and we have been pretty true to the 'realistic' scenario that we modelled a couple of months ago.
One trend that I have picked up on over the last couple of years is that on the years where there is a steeper downward trend through August into September (with September typically being the lowest of two), we have (and in a fairly broad sense) seen a poorer performing Christmas season.
This year's dip was quite harsh and came off the back of several months of really solid performances through May, June & July (the mini peak). So we based our modelling on the August performance and this has been pretty accurate.
The news of ASOS updating their profit forecasts due to poor performance is something that I can see happening across much of the retail sector this year. There will be those who do well, as BooHoo has done with their counter announcement that they’re set to perform as predicted through this period. But this year is going to have quite a few retail biggies hit quite hard I think.
There is a race to the bottom going on with price across the high street, and certainly within fashion. We have seen the best performance this year with our clients that have solid fan bases that distinguish them from the high street. I predict that as the price of fashion becomes driven lower and lower (and I think it will), then the opportunity exists to do well when you have a brand that has a very solid identity.
This type of brand tends to be niche, but that is not a governing factor. Their primary asset is that they have a core fanbase that they interact with in some way. Whether that is a brand that appeals to their own audience or one that already exists, the main thing is that they know who and where they are.
This, I think, is exactly where a brand needs to be going as we go into 2019. Now is the time to really examine the identity of your brand and how it performed in 2018. If your brand didn't do as well as you wanted in 2018 then it's time to look at that and see where the opportunity is for you to move forward to make 2019 a success. For those who did well this year, there is still room to strengthen the core identity of the brand to ensure that performance continues.
Luckily for our clients we are there for them. One of the number one things that we get asked for is our product finishing services. Things like neck tags, product wrapping, gift boxes, swing tags - the list could go on! All of these things really drive home the message of your brand and create that connection between our clients and their fans/customers.