Research is key to making any business successful and even more relevant to the fashion industry as the variety of products and diversity of your potential customer is vast. The information you gather from your market research will feed in to your business plan and help you identify where your products/idea will fit within the context of the following questions:-
- What is the size of the segment of the market you want to operate in and how is it performing?
- Who is your target customer?
- Where and how do they shop?
- What are the price points your target customer are willing to pay?
- Who are your competitors?
Your research will encompass a variety of sources including national press, blogs, market databases, trade magazines, exhibitions, e-commerce platforms, and the high street.
In this post I'm focusing on the first question raised, as your starting point is to find out the size of the market, predict whether it’s an expanding or shrinking segment, and what the impact of the national and international economic climate is likely to be.
To find this out there are on-line market prediction reports which give you information, statistics, insight, and analysis for every type of fashion and accessory product category. Large brands, marketing and advertising agencies all pay subscriptions to have this information, but the Business Library’s Business and IP Centre gives you free access to most of the main electronic research databases, and is a brilliant resource.
Below are examples of what looking at recent market reports* can tell you:-
- According to the DCMS, the current value of the clothing and footwear market in the UK is estimated at £44.8 million. This is predicted to grow between now and 2017 to £53.1 million. The following shows the levels of expenditure in the UK in 2012 for different apparel categories:
- Womenswear expenditure was £21 million, a growth rate of 13% since 2007. It is predicted to grow a further 21% from now until 2017, to reach an expenditure of £26 million.
- Menswear expenditure was £10 million, a growth rate of 10.% since 2007. It is predicted to grow a further 19% from now until 2017, to reach an expenditure of £11 million.
- Childrenswear expenditure was £5 million, a growth rate of 7% since 2007. It is predicted to grow a further 14% from now until 2017, to reach an expenditure of £6 million.
- Footwear expenditure was £5 million, a growth rate of 6% since 2007. It is predicted to grow a further 12% from now until 2017, to reach an expenditure of £6 million.
- Accessories expenditure was £2 million, a growth rate of 17% since 2007. It is predicted to grow a further 18% from now until 2017, to reach an expenditure of £3 million.
I'll be covering this area in more depth at our forthcoming workshop -
Fashion Business Planning for Success on 12th June.
Let me know what interesting industry statistics you've discovered?
By Alison Lewy
Founder of Fashion Angel and author of Design Create Sell - a guide to starting and running a successful fashion business.
*Courtesy of the British Library Business and IP Centre