During its annual seminar held at the end of 2015, the French fashion institute IFM met with textile and fashion professionals and presented its report on clothing distribution in France and in the rest of the world. Here are a few figures and trends.
Logistics at the core of development
To the major discontent of a number of local players, the international leaders H&M and Inditex performed extremely well on every market. They have even joined the limited panel of multinational food and cosmetics players thanks to their logistical performances, both globalized and responsive to local consumer needs. They hold second and third place in the ranking of companies with the best supply chain, just behind Unilever and ahead of Nestlé and L’Oréal according to Gartner. The Irish retailer Primark is continuing to push through, pulling down already-low price lists.
In the United States, on the contrary, the market shares of specialized retailers are stable at 29.6%, and even decreasing for some brands like Abercrombie & Fitch or Gap. Department stores have noticed a slight fall while mass-market retailers like Walmart and pure players are gaining ground on the clothing market with 15.7% and 4.4% in shares, respectively.
Investments in digital solutions on the agenda
With retail space ever-expanding and facing the need to invest in digital developments, most retailers are rethinking their nationally based stores and are becoming more selective about internationalization. Their aim is to both increase in-store traffic and improve flow-through ratios.
Retailers are thinking of ways to rally their teams, make their stores attractive and build a sincere and lasting relationship with hyper-connected consumers.
To achieve this, ‘each brand/retailer aims to understand their customers’ wishes and purchasing trajectory, whether when buying on line or in-store,’ explains the IFM. ‘They are thinking of ways to rally their teams, make their stores attractive and build a sincere and lasting relationship with hyper-connected consumers. The presence of retailers on social networks has increased considerably in recent times, with a subtle dosage of both statements from the brand and listening to customers.’
Developing digital tools and particularly implementing ‘click & reserve’ services (online reserving, in-store trying on and purchasing) and customized recommendations have become priorities for more than 70% of brands and retailers questioned by the institute, as well as providing in-store stock information. Half of these are using or planning on introducing tablets in-store. Just under 40% are currently planning on introducing smartphone and tablet payment terminals.*
(*) Survey conducted by the IFM in November 2015 on over 80 brands and retailers.