Competition in global apparel and footwear, while already tough, is intensifying as the industry, despite its fragmentation, is increasingly being driven by large companies and retailers benefiting from economies of scale, streamlined business operations, lean supply chains and big data analytics. This briefing aims to shed light on how these driving forces are influencing consumer behaviour and demand, and what strategies apparel and footwear companies are pursuing to remain competitive.
Fashion giants like Inditex and tech behemoths like Amazon are intensifying competition and shaping apparel and footwear markets globally, as they benefit from economies of scale, lean supply chains and big data analytics. Meanwhile, the digital evolution continues to speed up the pace of change, which permeates throughout the industry.
The frantic pace of the industry is affecting consumer behaviour, with consumers becoming ever more fickle and demanding. Fast fashion has turned the industry into a demand driven one, thanks to its highly responsive supply chains.
In a demand-driven industry, where product availability quickly shifts to what is highest in demand, competitive strategies need to include consumer engagement, as it allows companies to anticipate and learn preferences and demand first-hand from consumers. Consumer engagement also helps build lasting relationships, which is important in a world where brand loyalty is dwindling.
Having a strong brand identity, wherein the actions, communication and portrayal of the brand are reflected by the values that make up its identity will allow companies to connect more easily with likeminded consumers, and subsequently build long lasting relationships.
To capitalise on consumer engagement, companies must strive to remain agile and flexible in order to be responsive to industry and consumer change. This is all the more important given the fast changing nature of trends in apparel and footwear, coupled with the rapid pace of technological advancement and digital developments.
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