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Technological advances, and the growing popularity of social media, are changing consumer shopping behaviour and creating major implications for the fashion industry. Brands and retailers no longer have the power they once had.
But what does this mean for high street fashion brands competing for consumer attention in an increasingly busy marketplace both on and offline?
Online has opened consumers’ eyes to a huge world of choice. Social media has eased the process of inspiration to purchase. More sophisticated online visual shopping from the ASOS catwalk to augmented reality has bought consumers closer to products online. And the likes of Amazon Prime same-day delivery has set expectations for push-button shopping.
The continuous posting about daily lives on social media has given rise to greater pressures to adopt the latest trends and to constantly replenish wardrobes. You can no longer be seen wearing the same thing twice! Peer-to-peer consumerism through apps like Depop – where consumers can buy and sell fashion at second hand prices – means that ‘fast fashion’ is more disposable than ever. It doesn’t stop there; dozens of fashion companies have entered the sharing economy fray, providing consumers with rental sites giving access to items that are either only needed for one-off occasions, or are highly expensive and considered out-of-reach of mainstream consumers.
Consumers with more spending power and choice (but less commitment) are forcing fashion retailers to meet their demands through competitive pricing, providing instant access to the latest trends and a seamless omni-channel experience.