Fashion Industry Five Forces

Five Forces Analysis of Fashion Retail Industry

The fashion retail landscape has grown highly competitive in the 21st century. While there are a large number of brands, several of  them provide relatively similar products. The market has grown densely populated with fashion brands and still new brands can enter the market with new concepts. There are several factors including the fluctuations in the global economy, rise of the digital, technology, demand for fast fashion that are affecting the fashion retail market. Power is in the hands of the customers in this era and therefore the focus of the brands is also on crafting a better consumer experience. Thus, there are several forces affecting the market position of the fashion brands. This is a five forces analysis of the fashion retail industry based on the Porter’s five forces model.

Bargaining power of customers:

Individual customers may have very little bargaining power in the fashion retail industry. However, there are various factors that  make the customers as a group an influential force.  21st century has handed over the switch to the customers who are well informed, can choose from several alternatives and can switch easily between the several brands in the market. The high level of competition and the availability of so many brands and options  makes the customers’ tasks easy. Fashion brands compete to attract and  retain customers and that’s the reason behind the high spending on marketing.

Brands employ several types of customer retention strategies including discounts and memberships. so, overall the buying power of the customers is a significant force in the fashion retail industry.  Even if the customers do not influence a brand’s position directly, they do son indirectly. Brands are in a  race to serve and influence the customers in the best possible manner. Technology is being utilized to improve the customer experience and engage customers as well. Websites and apps have become indispensable if a brand wants to create space in its consumers’ hearts.

Bargaining power of suppliers:

Suppliers are not a significant force in the fashion retail industry. very little action goes on at the back end. Mostly the suppliers a re from the third world countries and have to follow the rules set by the buying brands. Brands have the purchasing power and  can easily switch from one supplier to another. Brands use their financial clout to influence prices. So, overall, the suppliers have very little control and therefore  their bargaining power is insignificant.

Threat of new entrants:

Threat of new entrants is a weak force in the fashion industry. As already mentioned, it is a densely populated industry and for a new brand to find success, it must use a significant level of differentiation. Still, brands can find unique ways to grow popular and acquire success. The increasing popularity of fast fashion is a proof of this fact. Moreover, investment is also a significant barrier. Apart from infrastructure, there is investment in marketing, distribution chain and human resources. So, the threat of new entrants is not a  significant force in the fashion retail industry.

Threat of substitutes:

The threat of substitutes comes from inside the industry. Since the competition is intense, no brand can stay assured that  it will keep selling and remains celebrity without focusing on customers. Every brand has several competitors and the space is continuously getting limited. From the high end to the low end segment, brands have populated the fashion landscape. So, even if cloths in general do not have a substitute, brands have many. Even for those who cannot afford luxury brands there are substitutes that can make high end styles available at lower prices. For example, Zara.

Competitive Rivalry in the industry:

The fashion retain industry is remarkable for the intense level of competitive rivalry in it. There are a large number of brands with similar product offerings. This makes the competitive rivalry intense. However, some brands also drive loyalty based on features and quality. Fast fashion is an emerging area. However,  rest areas have become densely populated. Brands that have a strong brand image are able to charge higher prices. Still, the race for winning customers has gotten so tough that there is pretty little space for the new comers. Overall, the competitive rivalry is a strong force in this industry. brands make use of discounts, offers and marketing to overcome this force.