Seven years ago fewer than three percent 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. A few years ago retailers might have blamed the economy for that, but not anymore.
On trend with a growing desire among consumers for product differentiation and delight, the role of fashion brands doubled in import (28 percent) in 2010. That sentiment was repeated in 2011 and is holding firm again this year (29 percent). More than ever before consumers are empowered to decide which brands are important to them, and have increasingly high expectations of those brands. In the realm of fashion, consumers are looking for unique brands to meet these rising expectations in a market overrun with undifferentiated commodities.
With every fashion option from t-shirts to the latest couture just a keystroke away, brand meaning is becoming a larger factor in the buying decision. According to Brand Keys tracking research, a similar trend is revealing itself across numerous product and service categories as consumers seek out meaningful brands that stand for something. Particularly in the fashion arena, luxury brands associated with legacy and emotional appeal seem to engage the customer better. In fact, luxury fashion brands have reached their highest level of consequence since the 1960s.
The research conducted by Brand Keys last year suggested that value rather than price was the driving consideration behind consumer behavior. Evidently authentic, lasting brands have the power to act as a surrogate for value. For luxury fashion brands, value—or the perception of value-via-brand—is of growing importance to consumers and therefore to the overall success of the brand. But value in fashion isn’t just what consumers’ dollars buy, it’s how the product fits the consumers’ lifestyle and self-perception—especially in a marketplace overflowing with an excess of similar products, congruous distribution, and bargain basement pricing.
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To learn more about the 2013 Brand Keys Fashion Brand Index, contact Robert Passikoff at 212-532-6028 on extension 15 or firstname.lastname@example.org