(By Retail Sails) Brand Keys has been surveying consumers about the value or importance they place on the fashion and clothing brands and logos they feel are important to them since 1996. Just 7 years ago, fewer than 3% of US apparel buyers felt fashion brands and logos – in particular luxury
fashion brands and logos – were increasing in importance when it came to differentiating their wardrobes.
Based on The Brand Keys 2012 Fashion Brand Index findings, we can see how rapidly that sentiment has changed:
Five years ago, when retailers were sent spiraling from the economic downturn, only 8% of US apparel buyers felt fashion brands and logos were of increasing importance when it came to differentiating their wardrobes. However, in the following years Brand Keys consumer research tells a very different story, especially as to how consumers are making their fashion buying decisions.
Since 2008, the importance of brand names has consistently increased, standing in 2012 at 29%, more than tripling in importance over four years. And consumer expectations continue to rise as shoppers increasingly seek uniqueness in their choice of fashion brands. Taking the top spot is Ralph Lauren / Polo, followed by: one?s favorite sports team, Armani, Nike, and Versace, Chanel, tied for fifth place.
?No matter the category, we see one trend growing: the increasing importance of fashion brands. While it?s true that consumers are not spending recklessly, that very reality is what drives them into the arms of true brands,? said Amy Shea, executive vice president of global brand development for Brand Keys, Inc., the New York-based brand and customer loyalty research consultancy.
The more considered a purchase, the greater the role a strong brand plays in the decision making process, especially true in the very personal category of fashion. These research findings are an incredibly accurate measure of this shift, particularly in regard to the brands people see as being more important when it comes time to buy.
?The rising importance of fashion brands generally, and these fashion brands specifically, indicates that value, or the perception of value-via-brand, is of much greater import to consumers, and ultimately, to the success of fashion brands,? noted Shea.
?It?s not surprising that consumers are looking to brands to make a difference, to meet their expectations, and to delight,? said Shea. ?In the context of fashion brands, value isn?t just what consumers? dollars buy, it?s how fashion fits consumers? lifestyle, self-perception, and expectations. This is especially true in a retail marketplace overflowing in excess of similar products, congruous distribution, and bargain basement pricing,? said Shea.
This year?s bottom line? Real brand value and meaning will have more leverage than ever. ?There are a lot of clothing labels competing out there, but ?just like the automotive and consumer electronics categories, retailers are going to be seeing more culling of fashion brands by consumers,? predicted Shea.