5 Digital Trends Within The Fashion Industry

It’s been a year of shocks. Brexit, Donald Trump, Leicester City, Ed Balls, Honey G. And now, the online sector has become the largest in the UK clothing market. Unlike Leicester and Honey G, however, this is no flash in the pan. By 2020, the fashion industry will account for almost a third of all online expenditure, with an estimated worth of over £18 billion. So what are the main changes and trends that will assist that growth in the short-term?

1) Luxury fashion brands will embrace the digital market
For years luxury fashion brands have held out from investing in the e-commerce industry. Scared that online markets would ruin their exclusivity, companies refrained from using websites and apps as alternatives to stores. Recently, though, luxury labels have saddled up and stormed the online market. Modern technology allows for luxury brands to perfectly personalise the online shop to match any functions offered in-store. Net-A-Porter led the way, and most high-end fashion businesses have followed suit. In 2015, women’s luxury fashion sales only accounted for 3 per cent of the online market. By 2018, this is expected to rise to 17 per cent and be worth over £8 billion. Although China is expected to lead the way with sales in luxury fashion expected to rise by 70 per cent, the UK will play a major part, too. We can expect an explosion of roles in digital for luxury fashion brands; more brand managers, more heads of e-commerce and definitely, more digital marketing managers.

2) Omnichannel vs Specialists
Consumers are becoming more thoughtful and thorough in the way they shop. According to digital agency specialists, customers now use an average of five devices on their journey from browsing to buying – rising from 2.8 in 2014. This appears a permanent change, so clothing retailers will aim to provide their customers with touchpoints, making transfers between devices effortless. With mobile shopping still going from strength to strength, however, as the technology develops m-commerce buying may again become the dominant force. Right now, mobile buying is still strong – from 2014 to 2015 revenues rose from £14.6 billion to £20.1 billion. So, what does this mean for recruitment? It may be worth employing device specialist consultants to help fill device specific roles.

3) Women still rule – but there is no slowing in online menswear growth
Since the internet was created, womenswear has dominated the gender division within clothing retail, and continues to grow. According to IMRG, e-commerce womenswear sales have risen by 87 per cent from January 2011 to December 2014. However, when this is compared to menswear sales over the same period, revenues have increased by a staggering 264 per cent and that growth shows no sign of slowing down. From 2015 to 2020, it is estimated the online menswear industry will expand by a further 14.4 per cent. The fashion industry is investing a lot more money in creative marketing strategies for menswear products. The new, hot Tinder-style fashion app, Grabble, reflects this creativity. So, we can expect many more e-commerce menswear specialist roles to become available within the recruitment industry; plus nongender specific vacancies.

4) Programmatic has arrived and isn’t leaving
Fashion is an extremely fast paced and evolving sector so it is no surprise that digital is taking over marketing campaigns. Programmatic advertising – real-time ad buying using complex algorithms and software – is increasingly evident. Programmatic buying allows for retailers to reach the right people, on the right device at the right time – reducing the chance of inefficient advertising. Programmatic buying is the future of marketing and any retailer that isn’t an early adopter will simply fall away.

5) 3D Fashion
3D printing is closer to revolutionising the fashion industry than you may think. Revolutions in technology are reducing the need for a human workforce. We are rapidly moving towards a world in which even the person in the driving seat is a passenger. If cars no longer need drivers, then clothes may also begin to lose the human touch. Robotic Process Automation is taking over every industry. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, predicted the blow up of the internet, the rise of mobile phones and is now envisaging the mass use of 3D printers in homes by 2020. Although 3D printing is big in the technological industry, the 3D printing of fabrics is very much in its infancy. If everyone can imitate the hottest new styles in their homes, the battle will be fought over how to harness this technology and keep fashion innovative, creative and exclusive.

Written by Rob Samuel