It's changing consumer lifestyles, not problems with fashion, that are driving changes in the women's apparel market
For several years, women's fashion designers and retailers have celebrated the surge in interest in the fashion accessory. Starting with Carrie Bradshaw's famous addiction to Manolo Blahnik shoes on Sex and the City, and continuing through years-long waiting lists for an Hérmes Birkin handbag, the women's fashion accessory had been the bright spot for designers and retailers during the recession.
Now, however, the women's apparel industry is expressing concern that women seem to be shying away from making purchases of women's apparel, and that the interest in shoes and handbags has masked a change in consumer behavior regarding fashion.
Unity's Luxury Consumption Index (LCI) proves predictive of third quarter results, offers indications for future
According to reporting in The Wall Street Journal, U.S. consumers spent less in October than hoped, disappointing retailers and leading to a rocky first part of November on Wall Street, as the stock market reacted to this decline in consumer spending. However, those who follow Unity Marketing's Luxury Consumption Index(LCI) expected the dip and could plan accordingly.
In July Unity Marketing's exclusive LCI took a deep dive, predicting a drop in luxury consumer spending during the third quarter -- which is exactly what happened, according to the results of Unity Marketing's latest survey of affluent consumers luxury purchases. Luxury consumers spent nearly 20 percent less in the third quarter than in the second quarter 2011.
New survey finds improved outlook for 1Q2012
Commenting on Unity Marketing's fourth quarter survey of 1,498 affluent luxury consumers (average income $279.1k; avg. age 44.4 yrs.), Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the just released Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury, says, "Our latest survey reveals turmoil in the luxury consumer mindset, just like the Dow Jones Industrial Average measures turmoil in the investment markets.
Affluents are uncertain about their present financial status and worried about the overall economy, which translates into more cautious spending on luxury indulgences. For example, 70 percent of the luxury consumers surveyed this month said they are spending the same or less on luxury now than they did twelve months ago."
Unity Marketing plans to launch a new study of the gifting market early in 2012 to give marketers the facts and figures
The Christmas gift shopping season is nearly over, but it seems like the pundits and industry watchers haven't got a clue about what the gift giving consumers are really up to. Take Black Friday sales for example. While some industry experts gleefully put sales on this much-examined retail day several percentage points ahead of last year, others quickly pointed out that any increase in revenues was likely due to the practices of opening store doors as early as Thanksgiving night, effectively tacking another six or eight hours of sales time onto Black Friday.
And just yesterday, the National Retail Federation (NRF) revised its forecast upward from their previously bullish pre-Thanksgiving estimates. But on the same day, the New York Times featured a story that said stores sales are lagging after Thanksgiving. As a result, they are taking drastic steps, including deep discounts, staying open late, and extending specials, to entice shoppers into the stores before Christmas.
Not only that, the New York Times article also reports that troubled retailers plan to manipulate the way they account for holiday gift sales this year to get a more favorable report from the actual year-over-year comparables. In other words, if the real data doesn't tell the story they want to tell their shareholders, they are going to 'cook the books' in order to do so.
High-End Fashion Brands Need to Tap Facebook, FourSquare and Other Social Media to Connect with their Highest-Value Customers
Unity Marketing's latest research highlights the importance of social media in selling luxury fashion brands
What kind of fashion brand customer is influenced by social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare? If you guessed that only students and young adults with minimal budgets to spend on fashion frequent these sites, you might be surprised. And if you are a luxury fashion brand making this assumption, you may be damaging your brand, according to new research on the high-end fashion customers from Unity Marketing.
>> The study, entitled The Fashionable Affluent, gives insights into how affluent consumers shop for fashion, including how social media influences their fashion choices.
While the data does show that young consumers are more likely to use social media, it also gives a very different income and overall demographic profile than one might expect. The research study was headed up by Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the new book,
Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury: How New Consumer Values Are Redefining the Way We Market Luxury.
Frye Leather Stakes Its Claim to Luxury
The Frye Company is a case study in how to build a luxury brand in the new economy
I love my Frye boots. I’ve owned a number of pairs over the years and just got a new pair from Zappos. Priced at $295 and made with rugged Frye quality leather and all tricked out with straps and buckles, I will enjoy wearing these boots for years to come. That’s why I was thrilled to learn that Frye had just opened its first branded boutique in SoHo. Coincident with that boutique opening, Frye also relaunched its website with enhanced search capability and a new look.
Frye is stepping out to create a new luxury brand based upon its ‘cowboy/girl’ western chic, one that perfectly matches the ‘zeigeist’ for authentic quality and value in the new economy where even the affluent are watching their pennies. Frye has leading-edge design covered too, as low-heeled riding boots are the look this fall.