A recent study from the Cambridge University shows that a woman buys as an average 28kg of a year. I looked a bit deeper to the subject and considered RFID's ability to grow the share of the 7 billion kg of the purchases European women buy a year.
We, European women buy altogether 7 billion kilograms of clothes
a year and that is four times as much as 30 years ago. Clearly the
Fast Fashion retailers have moved our consumption towards buying
more clothes and following trends far faster. Catwalk trends are
copied faster and faster and celebrity styles from red carpets make
it to the stores within weeks. After the royal wedding, a replica
of Kate's dress appeared on the window of a Finnish bridal shop
only a week after the wedding. The style of the dress she wore for
the announcing of the engagement hit web shops within a day and
sold out in hours.
As I read the article about how much clothes we purchase, I had
no choice, but to visit my wardrobe and see for myself. To be
honest, I (and I assure you I'm not alone), cannot state all the
clothes I purchased during the past year. Nor could I really weigh
them on my scale at home. So I had to do the next best thing, I
took my purchases in May so far and weighed them.
Below average, it cannot
I haven't been shopping too much lately as we've been decorating
the house, so it has taken some of my budget.
Yet I thought I would have amounted above the 2kg that I
measured. But the reality is that the 5 tops, two dresses, one
jumpsuit, a pair of shorts, two necklaces and two pairs of ear
rings, one scarf, one bracelet and one hat didn't amount to more.
So if I was only to trust this month's measures I'd be below the
average and even if I was to count in the clothes I've bought for
my son I barely get the 2,3kg to get the 28kg in the end of the
year. In reality, it is the season I'd say, the fabrics are all
light weight and there is anyway a little of it in summer clothes.
I'm sure once the autumn season kicks in again, I'll be above the
Speed to market
No matter what we answer to researchers all over Europe, we do
make our purchases based on the trends, celebrity styles, prices
and the preferences we have. There are of course groups of
consumers who make their purchases based on their values, but just
the kilograms and kilograms of clothes we buy prove how much we
really buy with the thinking "I'll use this at this weeks' party
and next week I'll buy a new one". And retailers - you should be
happy we do. I think I once calculated that I own 150+ tops and
t-shirts and I'm not ashamed of it.
When you look at the trend, it is clear that the speed to market
is no longer just a marketing strategy - it is becoming the essence
of survival. The leading fast fashion retailers state trend
recognition as their main area of interest for this year, the
Apparel Magazine lists the top technology as well as business
trends for the current year and one of the leading ones is
communicating with consumers on new media as well as faster
consumer trend recognition.
Recognition of trends is not everything though. Researchers all
over the world follow the largest Fast Fashion companies to
understand how to fine-tune operations and to be able to provide
goods to store within weeks of design. The success factors include
at least a very streamlined supply chain, correct and in-time
orders, strategies around items that have the longest lead times
(e.g. good prognosis applications) as well as the efficient usage
of POS data. Combining these factors together with RFID could lift
the first adopter the next H&M or Inditex of the industry. One
of the best known RFID adoptions in the world is Gerry Weber who
tag their items to 100% very profitability. In their latest press
release they forecast a 10% growth for the year 2011!
Why would my proportion of the 28kg
be more if I jumped in now?
The items in my box are from retailers that run significant
operations in Finland and Scandinavia. They are not necessary the
largest in the area, although some are. The top 2 European
retailers are both well represented in my basket. Why? Because the
items are easily accessible and of course as they've been
successful in providing the items to their stores just in time I
wanted to buy them in summer: May has been warm, the sun has been
shining a lot and thus, the well performing retailers have also
updated their store windows with the bright summer colors. I would
have bought even more from my favorite store, which is a local one
if they had just the stock I wanted to.
The latest "Styles" magazine just referred to the fact that we
purchase 50% of our items (ie 14kg a year) on discount. Why is
this? Because retailers have not adopted the "speed to market"
tools and hence cannot either perfect their supply chain or cannot
recognize the consumer trends well enough and thus end up providing
wrong stock to their outlets. The investment in RFID reportedly
pays back and fast. Additionally it will lift the adopting
companies to the premier league of apparel retail!
Apparel Magazine / Rethinking speed to
Are you buying your weight in clothes?
2011 Top Technology Trends