The fashion industry is a global enterprise that focuses on making, buying, and selling clothes. There was always a distinction between the high fashion industry and the general clothing market. However, the lines became blurred in the 1970s. Fashion is usually defined as a style of accessories and clothing provided to people. However, the fashion industry includes the design, manufacturing, advertising, promotion, and marketing of all types of fabrics. This covers haute couture to regular normal day clothes. Therefore, it was essential to find new ways to increase customer satisfaction, run effective marketing campaigns, and drive sales to stand out in this industry. One way to do this is through fashion market segmentation. This article explains the different market segmentation in the fashion industry and how to make your brand stand out. On that note, let’s take a look.
What is Fashion Market Segmentation?
Fashion market segmentation divides target audiences into different segments based on several characteristics they share. In fashion, it is crucial to know your market segmentation; this would help you create a unique identity that allows you to relate with your customers and audience. However, most new businesses find it challenging to understand the market and which segment they fall into. To efficiently segment the fashion industry, you have to consider the influence of trends on the market and accessibility.
First, you need to begin with the traditional spectrum that focuses on price. Although the cost of a garment influences accessibility and exclusivity, you need to consider distribution when categorizing your brand on fashion market segments. Distribution covers how and where your products are distributed, the garment quality, the production process, and many more factors.
Fashion Market Segmentation – Segments You Should Note
To help you determine which segment is ideal for you, we’ll be diving into the various types of fashion market segments. Knowing the fashion market segments will help you understand your target customers more effectively.
At the top of the fashion market segmentation pyramid is the Haute Couture. This is a French term that refers to sophisticated fashion brands. Technically speaking, this fashion market segment refers primarily to fashion houses that the French High Fashion Federation approves. However, professional designers who make made-to-measure clothing, handcrafted and intricate garments like evening wear could also be called couture. It’s crucial to know the distinctions between them because even powerhouses like Louis Vuitton don’t qualify as Haute Couture.
The next segment in the fashion market segmentation pyramid is luxury. In the haute couture segment, these are for brands with high price tags and limited distribution processes. This method helped to maintain the exclusivity and appeal of the brand. However, brands in this fashion segment also create ready-to-wear products available in stores, and customers can simply come and take them without a need for measurement.
However, to add more value to these ready-to-wear apparel, most fashion houses measure these garments to their wealthiest client. They also offer customization to customers who are willing to pay for it. Even without unique measurements, there are usually high levels of crafting in the manufacturing process to ensure the uniqueness of the product. In addition, most luxury brands use leather goods, outwear, and accessories that are non-seasonal to keep up steady revenue.
Diffusion and Premium Segments
We have the diffusion and premium brands at the mid-level fashion market segmentation. They’re pretty different by definition from the luxury segment but also share the same goal with this segment. The purpose of the diffusion and premium segment is to provide top quality but to a more significant number of consumers. Companies in this fashion market segment source the best fabric but use the industrial manufacturing process for their production. Alternatively, they would source more affordable materials but use a high manufacturing process.
This production method allows brands in this segment to add a high price tag to their great products. One difference between the luxury segment and the diffusion and premium segment is that there’s a more extensive distribution on this level than in the luxury and haute couture segment. A notable difference between luxury and the diffusion and premium segment is that sub-brands owned by leading designers like Emporio Armani from Giorgio Armani and See by Chloe from Chloe aim to reach a broader customer base. They are usually standalone brands and aim to balance price and quality. Therefore, you could usually find these fashion items at inaccessible price points but close to the designer prices.
Mass Market Segments
This is where the fast fashion brands we know today fall into. However, fast fashion brands are not the only brands found in this fashion market segment. As the name of this fashion market segment suggests, the goal is to maximize distribution while ensuring prices stay low to reach a mass audience. This fashion market segmentation differs from premium brands in many ways. First, the price point span is different; this refers to the difference between the most expensive and cheapest items. Mass market prices are smaller, and their product mix comes with both breadth and depth. This is because there are many item options, usually available in large quantities.
Note that there are also expensive mass-market brands. However, they tend to have more structures and goals. Gap and Old Navy fall into this category of mass-market brands. Now, you should note that every mass-market brand is a fast-fashion brand. Fast fashion refers to a selection of brands that don’t keep to the two-to-four seasons each year system. Instead, fast fashion brands launch products frequently throughout the year. These brands produce clothes based on current trends and try to capitalize on the high but short-lived demand for some items. When the trends change, these fast fashion brands move on to the new trend.
This is common with brands like Forever 21 and Zara. Other brands in the mass market segments would frequently bring novelty to their store. However, the goal of these brands is not to follow new trends or to launch new collections often. An example of a mass-market brand that does not fall into the fast fashion category is Uniqlo.
This is the final fashion market segment, and brands in this level focus on selling inventory from prestigious brands with a markdown. The most prominent discounted brand in this segment is TJX group, located in the US market. However, this segment isn’t focused on the US market but covers brands around the globe that shares the same goal. The companies in this segment are more concerned about distribution and logistics than anything else. This is because they don’t focus on production as they don’t manufacture their fashion items.
Fashion Market Segmentation According to the Classic vs. Trendy Spectrum
Once you understand the different segments of the fashion market pyramid, one of the best ways to understand the segmentation is by considering it from the classic vs. trendy spectrum. This doesn’t define any brand’s style but rather how the brands in each segment approach collection development each year. The classic spectrum isn’t about focusing on traditional brands. Instead, brands that fall into the classic category focus on statement designs being repeated many times. There will always be staple items with these brands, like Levi’s jeans and Armani’s suit.
On the other hand, you have brands that constantly focus on trends and fashions. Examples of brands in this category include Gautier and Zara. Brands in this spectrum have the goal of identifying their competitors. Because two brands have the same structure or share the same demographic audience doesn’t mean they’re truly competitors if the audience differs. The trendy spectrum focuses on the emotional side of fashion. They focus on this from the design and branding process to serving the needs and wants of their customers.
How to Make Your Fashion Brand Unique
To effectively excel in the fashion industry, flexibility is essential. So if you’re wondering what bands need to do to adjust to the changes in the fashion industry and consumer behaviour patterns, note the tips below.
Define Your Target Audience
With the fashion industry getting bigger, it is essential to know your customer niche to help you stay in the right lane. This is what fashion market segmentation hopes to achieve. To know your fashion market segment, you must understand your brand’s purpose. Note that you don’t have to narrow down the target audience; you just need to know who your focus is to convey the right message and principle to your audience.
Market on Various Channels
There’s been a recent shift to ecommerce over the years, making it a top trend in the fashion industry. However, you should note that customers still shop across different channels. These changes require you to meet your customers on the various shopping channels. By combining online and offline stores, you can effectively improve your brand influence while expanding your customer base.
Maintain a Consistent Brand Image
Find out how you would like to express your brand to consumers and keep up with this image. A consistent image is a goal for building brand loyalty. An example is Nike which focuses on athletes of all skill levels. Additionally, Gucci is known for its elegant and modern brand image. When you determine the style you want, sticking to it tells your customers that they’re different from competitors. To help you maintain brand consistency, you should follow it up with your public and employees. There’s also a need for a high level of interaction between customers and employees.
Focus on Your Social Responsibility
Consumers are becoming more aware of the social responsibilities of fashion brands. A report shows that 64% of customers would buy or boycott a brand based on its stand on political and social issues. These social responsibilities usually include social inclusivity, sustainability, and ethics. The fashion industry is largely responsible for a significant percentage of pollution issues and cheap labour. Your brand needs to meet strict social responsibility standards to stand out and drive sales.
Creating segments in the fashion markets allows you to clarify fashion brands’ target audience. It also helps brands determine the best way to satisfy their customers. To help you assess your market strategy, fashion market segmentation is essential. Now that you know your fashion market segment, you can implement the tips shared in this article to stand out from the competition. Brands in the lower segment of the fashion market deal with a saturated market; the insights above will help you drive sales and improve brand loyalty.