Yes, I too am going to add to the many blogs of how to keep people spending in a downturned economy. I recently had the opportunity to listen to a trend forecast by David Wolfe of The Doneger Group, one of the premier trend forecasting and creative service providers in the Fashion Industry. Mr. Wolfe opened the talk by pointing out that “fixed costs” in people’s lives such as food will only continue to increase next year. He then posed the question, how can we keep people spending on frivolous items such as fashion?
Well, you must first develop a fine tuned focus of what it is you are providing and exactly to whom. You must provide fashion that fulfills needs rather than simply the newest trend. For instance, we are seeing much more careerwear in the marketplace. It’s not just a coincidence this is happening as the unemployment rate continues to rise. Not only do people need professional clothing for job interviews but those who still have a job are starting to dress more professionally because they really want to stay on board. It will most likely be casual Cassie who is let go before professional Patty. Another microtrend is that more people are working from home. This market niche provides a great opportunity for those producing a more casual mode of dressing.
Newness is particulary important in fashion. A woman is not going to buy another pair of black pants in this market. She just doesn’t need them. However, give her a great fitting pant in the newest color of the season and maybe she will find the money deep down in her pocket. This is a great time for new brands that are priced right. Buyers are looking for new and exciting product that creates a spark with the consumer.
Above all people are looking for escape in times of economic downturn. Looking to the films of the 1930’s after the stock crash of 1929 and WWII imminent at the end of the decade, you see glamour and decadence. These films provided escape for the everyday person. Just remember, if your product can provide just a moment of escape in these times that are focused on increasing energy and food costs, war on terror and global warming, that is the diversification from competition that will make you stand out and win the small portion of discretionary spending consumers have to offer.