Fashion insiders weigh industry

100 fashion insiders weigh in on the industry in 2020

Key takeaways

  • 100 people from the fashion and luxury industries shared their 2020 experience with us. 42% currently work for a company with more than 200 employees, and 38% work in collection merchandising and analytics.
  • Only a small number of the companies surveyed consider themselves fully digitally transformed: while there is still some progress to be made, the pandemic accelerated the digital movement throughout 2020.
  • The greatest achievements in 2020 were unsurprisingly in the digital, e-commerce, and website fields, but globally, fashion industry insiders managed to adapt and improve their processes.

We asked our prospects and partners some industry-specific questions to get a better clue of 2020. They answered questions about digital transformation, their biggest stakes, and the main issues they faced during this year of uncertainty. We also inquired about their greatest achievements to draw some positivity from the past year. So what did some of the top industry insiders say about their experience throughout 2020 in fashion? 

Following our poll, nearly 100 people answered us from mainly the fashion (51%) and luxury (28%) industries. Of these respondents, 42% currently work for a company with more than 200 employees, though the companies themselves remain confidential due to our policy.

Curious about their jobs? 38% of respondents work in collection merchandising and analytics, 23% work in clothing design, and 22% work in digital or communication. 

While most of these experts came from Europe at 59%, others equally came from Asia at 18% and North America at 21%.

Courtesy of Sadie Culberson

Digital transformation in the fashion industry

Digital transformation process survey by Heuritech

Around the world, many companies are already rather advanced in their digital transformation, particularly along the course of the pandemic. Nonetheless, only few of them consider themselves fully transformed, indicating that there is still some progress to be made in the digital realm.

The main stakes of 2020

Digital transformation survey by Heuritech

Considering that 38% of our respondents work in the merchandising or analytical fields, it comes as no surprise that 20% answered that building a balanced collection assortment was one of their biggest stakes for 2020. The period of confinement proved auspicious for evaluating the number of SKUs to produce and analyze consumer needs and behaviors. Why? Because consumers were much more present on social media during confinement. Brands quickly caught on, noting that in order to reduce stocks, creativity was the solution: for instance, injecting best-sellers in the collection proved to be a big stake for 15% of respondents. Including future big trends and excluding the declining ones was also important for 15% among our industry  insiders.

Courtesy of Baudouin

Industry obstacles throughout 2020

Digital transformation survey by Heuritech

Time spent watching social media (24%) was evidently an obstacle for many industry players in 2020, but even more problematic were gaps in the collection offer and demand planning inaccuracy at 23% and 17% respectively. These three issues are clearly correlated: having a better analysis of social media allows one to scan a huge amount of information about one’s customers and have better market targeting and demand planning. Heuritech is an all-in-one solution offering to resolve these 3 problems for various fashion job typologies.

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Despite this tough period, what was your greatest achievement?

Despite 2020 being a tough year, we received lots of funny and creative answers! For the more conventional ones, we’ve compared the ones with commonalities.

It’s not surprising that we received 10 answers referencing digital, ecommerce, and websites with answers such as:

  • “First digitization of business unit”
  • “Create website”
  • “Have time to digitally transform”

8 answers talked about adaptation and improving their processes, noting that they had more time to reflect and strategize than during the previous years:

  • “Rising to meet the new challenges that will radically change the way we work”
  • “Keep the company operational and improve production processes”
  • “Having the opportunity to look back and think about the best way to move forward”
Binx Walton covers W Korea, Photo by Laurie Bartley
Binx Walton covers W Korea, Photo by Laurie Bartley

A total of 6 respondents mentioned creativity as a positive consequence of slower business:

  • “Establish a new brand direction”
  • “Offering creative insights to non creative clients”
  • “Rethinking the band and concept, going further into lateral ideas”

While many in the fashion industry in 2020 struggled to stay afloat, some managed to improve. Five respondents noted growth as an achievement this year: “Grew online sales that kept the company in profit growth.”

For other brands (3), it was indeed more about survival:

  • “No mass redundancies in spite of COVID”
  • “Surviving as a business and brand”
  • “Save the company from chapter 11”

As we look back on 2020, we can safely say that this past year has been far from smooth sailing. For those of us in the fashion industry, there’s no need to reiterate the year’s drawbacks which left few unscathed. What is worth noting, though, is the versatility of those in this industry who so expertly rolled with the punches.

Our survey proved that the industry took advantage of the situation and adapted where it needed to adapt, particularly in the realm of digital transformation which seemed to be the song of 2020. What we can expect looking forward to 2021, then, is a sense of calm confidence approaching uncertainty thanks to new and developing solutions for the fashion industry.

Armelle Pingeot

About the writer: Armelle Pingeot, Head of Growth and Marketing

Armelle is working at Heuritech as Head of Growth and Marketing, the more she understands her consumer, the happier she is!

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