For over 50 years, Urban Outfitters has been the go-to curator to American youth for casual, on-trend fashion. Since the brand’s beginning in 1970, college-age consumers have enjoyed UO’s universe of creativity and cultural understanding reflected in their clothing and lifestyle and beauty products. Urban Outfitters has created a community vested in social media and events, and consumers around the world seek out the brand’s expressive, on-trend apparel for every season.
With that in mind, Heuritech’s trend forecasters explored UO’s website to review their product assortment and get a better idea of their customers’ desires. We’ve picked core and recurring trends on Urban Outfitters’ current collection assortments from their e-commerce platform, comparing them with our data to gauge demand for the Winter 2021 season in the US. Let’s see what trend forecasting can do for Urban Outfitters.
Loungewear season: Forecasting Winter 2021 trends
In particular, this article focuses on loungewear as we continue to enjoy the comfort of our homes and have adopted a casual style approach outside of it. The Winter season calls for warmth and cosy looks, but also for lighter silhouettes to cater to the warmer states and sunny holiday escapes. If hooded coats and velvet pants bring comfort and fun, boho maxi dresses perfectly accommodate the holiday breeze. Understanding how they behave will help Urban Outfitters’ design team to establish an efficient collection plan and avoid markdown items at the end of the season.
1. Hooded Coats
Warm coats are a Winter staple, and in 2021 the US market is overwhelmingly in favor of oversized, hooded puffer coats. Indeed, women’s hooded coats are a safe bet this Winter, meaning that Urban Outfitters should include this garment in their upcoming collection for this season. The trend status is determined by two metrics:
- Magnitude: A trend’s forecasted market demand for the season in question
- Growth rate: A trend’s forecasted visibility on social media compared to the same season the year prior
Hooded coats have a big magnitude and a +5% growth rate: UO can be confident in this trend’s success this Winter ‘21. It’s important to note the type of consumer that will be most drawn to this garment, however, because this helps inform design elements like color, fabric, and silhouette depending on the target audience.
For hooded coats, both mainstream and edgy consumers will go for the trend, signalling to Urban Outfitters that this garment has reached a universal appeal following several successful seasons. This helps explain the trend’s high seasons of Spring and Winter, because it has become a garment that lasts through the entire Winter and into the colder months of Spring.
2. Regular Velvet Pants
Velvet has achieved decent success over the past year as we move toward Fall/Winter 2021 and continue to see the loungewear movement live on. And evidently, it will continue to remain desirable as we move into Winter ‘21: velvet pants will grow in visibility by +10% compared to Winter ‘20.
This moderately increasing growth rate will be countered by the garment’s small market demand potential, which explains its steady trend status. This signals to Urban Outfitters that velvet pants are a reliable trend for their Winter 2021 collection.
But which consumer type(s) will purchase velvet pants? In the US, the trend will most appeal to mainstream and trendy young women despite its small magnitude. UO’s design teams can take into consideration these consumer segments as they bring this garment to life. Finally, just like for the hooded coat, velvet pants’ most successful seasons will be in Spring and Winter.
3. Boho Maxi Dress
While the maxi dress is no doubt comfortable, it’s not quite loungewear. For this reason, this garment won’t find the same success as the hooded coat and velvet pants this Winter 2021 in the US. Our trend forecasters qualify the boho maxi dress as a mark down, meaning that the brand should exclude this garment from their Winter ‘21 collection. What they can do, though, is push the trend during its high seasons of Summer and Fall to sell off this inventory and avoid waste.
The boho maxi dress’ small magnitude helps explain its edgy consumer segmentation — while these metrics aren’t always inherently aligned, logic follows that a small market demand potential caters to a niche consumer segmentation. Ultimately, the trend’s -10% growth rate compared to Winter 2020 is strong evidence of its decline in desirability come Winter ‘21.
Social media-based trend forecasting: Tuning into UO’s audience
To summarize, Heuriteh’s trend forecasters compared a few key trends taken from Urban Outfitters’ ecommerce platform with our data to provide a glimpse into how they will behave in the US market for the Winter 2021 season.
- Hooded coats: This garment is a safe bet, with a growing market share in the outerwear category. UO can push for various styles to address multiple consumer segments.
- Regular velvet pants: WIth a strong predicted growth of 10%, their market share is increasing by 2.8% compared to Winter 2020. This garment will be an essential loungewear piece this Winter.
- Boho maxi dresses: This garment is a mark down as it’s losing desirability in the dress category, so UO should opt for other dress types.
As a brand so in tune with social media through its young, fashion-forward customers, it’s important to analyze this source to gain an elaborated view of what the youth find trendy or not. With trend forecasting based on social media, Urban Outfitters can be sure to make optimal choices to be in tune with consumers’ expectations.