Summer 2017 Fashion Sales Report

The obvious and not-so-obvious winners of this year’s July summer sales.

Before our tan lines could fade, our inboxes were filled with promo newsletters talking about the last of season’s sales, announcing final reductions. This time of the year has always been bittersweet- between packing up our grills and laundering our swimsuits we’re hard at crunching Sales data, pulling up an analysis of what people have been buying off their screens. Was it all pink? Are denim cut-offs over? How did the 80’s one-piece do? How much was the US into straw bags?

But more importantly, the questions you really want to know:

How much pink did your competition sell?

Is anyone offering better deals on yellow sundresses?

Did you, perhaps, undersell your 80’s inspired swimwear?

Could you have avoided lost sales by stocking up more on straw bags?

Let’s go through them.

Fashion Trends that paid off

Stripes ruled. A neat 20% in-stock spike in May-June, of which 18.5% was out-of-stock by end of July, says so. Stripes at fast-fashion retailers and mass brands sold at an average 28% discount, while discounts at aspirational brands like Madewell & JCrew maxed out at 11%. Luxury fashion had to sell the hardest at 53% average discount.

Speaking of stripes, the surprise winner this summer was the striped one-piece swimsuit which made up for 10% of swimwear assortment between May to July. For a pattern that’s not the most flattering style for various body groups, stripes did pretty well in the swimwear category. The highest discounted striped swimwear went at 78% discount on Shopbop. Solid & ruffled one-pieces came close, averaging at a 46% discount.

stripe one piece swimsuit

The most stocked accessories this summer were in straw (or wicker, or raffia, or basket-they came by different names). Does this mean they sold well?

Not necessarily.

We didn’t see a remarkable sold-out rate for the material that was one of the key trends of Summer ‘17. Especially in bags. Footwear did slightly better, with espadrille flats being one of the hottest selling items.  While straw bags made up for 26% of out-of-stock bags by August, espadrilles made up for 40%, (although they went for half-price in the sale).

Another popular trend that worked well was millennial pink of course. But another color did better. While 25% of tops & dresses in pink were sold-out by August last week, 39% of the out-of-stock chunk went out in white. White was also a winner in shoes, mini crossbody, and sunglasses. Pink topped in the dresses category, however, at an average 15% lower discount than white.

Trends that didn’t quite take off

If you go through this year’s summer promotions, there’s some big talk about flared silhouettes replacing the skinny fit. But apparently, skinny still seems to be around, albeit with a waning interest. Cropped/cut-off jeans took away the price for summer best sellers, in the end. They made up for 67% of the sales by end of July, averaging at 51% discount. While fall catalogs are generously filled with flared jeans, it remains to be seen if they become big in 2017.

Victorian lace, especially in tops, seemed to be a handful for summer it seems. While 27% spike in stocks was found in the first week of July, only 9% of lace tops went out on discount, meaning they were not a sale favorite exactly. Broderie Anglaise, a fancy name for cotton cutwork embroidery, was a surprise newcomer in peak summer and it did much better within a significantly shorter shelf life.

Chunky platforms, in theory, made a lot of sense in the beginning of summer, but their performance was pretty lackluster by the end. The ones that did well were categorized as lace-up platform espadrilles, selling out at the lowest average discount of 25%. Suede mules from last fall continued to gain more heat, especially in open-toe iterations.

What you may have missed

Some categories may have sounded less obvious as contenders to focus on, but there’s a lesson in them for retailers for next summer, or sooner, for the ongoing Labour Day sales.

Golf apparel in the US has been flying off shelves, so is athletic wear for water sports. If swimsuits are key summer sale items, those who stocked up athletic beachwear would have made a good dough.

Knit sneakers went at lower discounts than any other sneakers, a good 30% lower.

knit sneakers variety

 

Red florals were hot sellers too, so were denim tops, jackets, sets & dresses. Denim overalls made up for 63% of sales among jumpsuits & rompers. They may just have dethroned the default festival & beach favorite: denim cutoff shorts, which were stocked in fewer quantities compared to last two year, making up for only 10.6% of bottoms between May to August.

Final goodbyes

Labor Day sales would be a good time to get rid of some of the leftovers from summer. Particularly those ideal for fall transition, like the lightweight trench coats, sleeveless turtlenecks, leather/PVC button-down skirts, even satin shoes. Amp up promos on items that hit the spot between summer nostalgia and fall readiness. Looking at you, you sweet Victorian lace top with ruffled neck.

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