Signals Analytics, an AI-powered consumer and market insights platform, added Apparel to its rapidly growing list of industry-specific intelligence offerings. Connecting data from more than 13,000 external sources - including Instagram, Target, Macy's, Walmart, Amazon, Zappos and Nordstrom - the software offers contextualized insights across the consumer, competitive and commerce landscape fueling faster and more successful go-to-market strategies in an industry where the need for speed is greater than ever. Fashion was hit hard in 2020 as the world adapted to shelter-in-place orders and social events were cancelled. Struggling to sell existing inventory, new innovation and product launches from apparel brands drastically declined. Signals Analytics' data shows that the number of new products launched on ecommerce channels declined by 56% year on year, and even as countries begin to reopen, Boston Consulting Group claims industry revenue could still drop by more than one-third in 2021.
Given historically slow product development and go-to-market lifecycles for apparel, sudden changes to market conditions and consumer behavior in the past year have left brands eager to become more agile. Never has the need to understand and predict consumer sentiment, as well as competitor actions, been more important. Signals Analytics' new solution provides a system of insight from which brands can improve decision-making, reduce the time between product development and launch, anticipate trends to improve product design, support M&A decisions and generate effective merchandising and marketing strategies. With use of the platform, brands increase the odds of a successful launch and increased sales in any climate.
"As apparel companies continue to map out future plans, it is critical for them to incorporate a strong data strategy across all areas of the business - from concept to commerce," says Guy Cohen, Chief Product Officer of Signals Analytics. "Fashion has always been regarded as a creative rather than data-driven field, lagging behind in insight-driven decision-making. By layering in advanced analytics and predictive capabilities such as those in Signals Analytics, brands can balance the art with science, using data-driven insights to create product lines that speak to what will actually push consumers to add items to their online carts."
Today's Market Opportunities for Apparel Brands
Signals Analytics' brands execute smarter, faster decisions by connecting consumer and market insights across their go-to-markets. The platform has revealed and identified key apparel trends with high-demand market opportunity:
• Activewear will remain a top seller. While new product launches across women's apparel decreased 63% in 2020, activewear proved to be the most discussed style of the year providing opportunity for sportswear brands to capitalize. Additionally, consumer conversations around impact-absorption, fast-dry, and antimicrobial materials grew by 272%, 394%, and 740% respectively, proving consumers want activewear with performance properties.
• Sustainability will remain a priority for men and women. Pre-pandemic, consumers sought out "fast-fashion" brands, yet Signals Analytics found that consumer discussions around sustainability grew 21% over the last six months. Sustainable materials saw tremendous increases in social discussions too – including bamboo (up 368%), jute (up 2,566%) and lyocell (up 691%) – showing there's an appetite for purchasing these products.
• Men want heels too! Signals Analytics saw high demand for chunky heels, wedge soles, and wingtips in the men's shoe category. Very few men's products possess these attributes currently, indicating a clear white space and opportunity for designers to reconsider gender norms and product features for men.