[Case Study] Marketing in Fashion- Insights From the Digital Landscape of the Clothing Industry
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[Case Study] Marketing in Fashion- Insights From the Digital Landscape of the Clothing Industry

Elena Cucu
Elena Cucu

Table of Contents

Fashion has always been more than just clothes, moving towards being a way of expressing one’s personality, and has long evolved over the years.

Today we’re going deeper into the matter through this case study about marketing in fashion, where I’m going to show you a glimpse of what those changes meant by analyzing the promotion approach of the clothing industry’s top segments.

Each of them was paired with a couple of examples of the brand’s affinity on social media over the last three years and were divided as follows:

  • Luxury fashion: Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton,
  • Sportswear: Nike, Under Armour, Columbia Sportswear
  • Homestyle (fast fashion): Forever21, Old Navy, GAP

From haute couture names to homestyle ones, and even sportswear, brands in the fashion industry benefit a great deal from using social media, thanks to its visual nature, through which people get inspired.

In fact, the clothing industry is one of the economy’s giants, being number one in the UK's creative industry, for that matter.

So, whether you’re a woman and shopping is, as they say, in your nature or a man who just likes to keep up with the trends, there’s a piece of the pie for each one of you.

That’s why we decided to look into brands that are put into different segments of the market, studying their evolution starting with March 2017 until present time

Now let’s get down to the juicy parts.👇

Key insights

1. Instagram is the industry's favorite platform for posting
2. People engage the most on Instagram, regardless of the brand’s fashion subdivision
3. Images make up for the most engaging posts
4. Luxury fashion is the most engaging segment on Facebook.
5. Brands from the sportswear segment have the highest engagement rate per post on Instagram

1. Instagram is the industry's favorite platform for posting.

When it comes to social media, things move fast. Like, skyrocket fast. And what was wow a while back may become old news in the blink of an eye.

For example, back in 2017, the high-end fashion segment was ruled by three great names: Channel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci.

Also, in that same year, Forever21 claimed its place among the top three fast fashion brands that were killing it on social media.

Now we’re curious to see how these brands are doing nowadays.

We wanted to show a more in-depth analysis, going above follower count, number of likes and comments, and by using Socialinsider analytics, we come before you with our findings regarding the clothing industry’s social media trends.

Average day per post across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for fashion brands, analytics from Socialinsider dashboard.

As we can see, across all social media platforms, we have a pattern for each end of the line - with Forever21 having the highest number of posts and Nike the lowest, by opposite.

What’s important to outline is that not the numbers of posts make a brand succeed or not in social media, but the whole strategy behind them, which covers the messages and their distribution through every channel.

Cuz we all know Nike’s communication lovable effect, which says it all.

Choosing to play with the all-powerful platform of enchanting aesthetics, the brand’s preference for Instagram is obvious and leaves far behind the other social media platforms, regardless of their position on the segmentation line.

Let’s take GAP, for example, for which the number of posts on Instagram is almost 4 times bigger compared to Facebook and Twitter.

There may be a few ups and downs in numbers, but this is the pattern found along the fashion marketing journey, where Instagram leads the way.

This picture presents the posting segmentation of GAP for social platforms:Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

2. People engage the most on Instagram, regardless of the brand’s fashion subdivision.

We all know the 21st century is a fast one, so not exactly rare are the situations in which we want to look good, dress fancy for who knows what sort of event, but also kinda keep it casual and cozy. Right?

And luckily, all these prayers have been answered with the appearance of the fast fashion industry.

Also, considering the new lifestyle, the on and off lockdowns, and all the time spent at home nowadays, makes changing from the “traditional office outfit” to the homie one blur its edges.

But still, let’s not forget people need and want opportunities to dress up and show off once in a while, so for these times, the homestyle apparel seems to be the perfect blend.

A mood switch within the same outfit, what’s there not to love?

An Old Navy post on Instagram that shows the possibilities of combining different items.

Now that we’ve uncovered fashion brands are posting more on Instagram, it may not come as a surprise that Instagram is also the platform that generates the most engagement for this industry.

This chart shows the engagement stats for fashion brands across all social platforms.

Now, let’s rewind a bit and take a look at how the statistics look like for GAP. Among their social media profiles, Facebook is the platform where most of the followers are gathered.

Trust us on this one, if you have seen one, you have seen it all. And considering the fact that Facebook is the firstborn out of this magnificent trio of social media platforms, it is quite logical why brands have the biggest audiences here.

This picture represents the distribution of GAP fans across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

But does this mean automatically, because it has the most numbers of followers, that Facebook also generates the highest levels of engagement? Well, the answer is a big no-no. And this applies to the other fashion brands, as well.

The graphic shows how GAP engagement stats look like by comparing the numbers on all social platforms.

Well, by looking at the data and comparing the numbers, it is pretty obvious why the posting approach.

If we opened the discussion about GAP and ways brands have tried to communicate with their communities during the pandemic, it’s worth mentioned also their user-generated content campaign, #gapfromhome.

A post example of the campaign conducted on Instagram - #gapfromhome

While trying to accommodate people into the new way of living, through this initiative, the brand also aimed at making people keep in touch with their regular habits as a reminder of the good old days.

But they also used this opportunity to position themselves as a companion into their consumer’s usual activities.

As much as we’d like to put it behind us, the pandemic surely has launched some challenges for all the marketers out there, and an analysis of how marketing in fashion has adapted to it may actually become a road opener for future dares.

With homestyle fashion gaining more and more ground, it’s interesting to keep an eye on it and see how it will develop furthermore, especially after all the craziness will be over.

Now let’s see how high-end fashion adapted to this situation.

Raise your hand if you heard about #GucciFest, a week-long fashion and film festival held in November 2020.

As a way of being close to its audience and give something back to the community, the famous Italian brand released a mini-series of seven episodes that featured the newest collection of the fashion house's creative director, and not only.

There was also a new challenge at the horizon for the haute couture brand, to change its long-term ritual of having seasonal collections and show two ageless collections a year instead.

By choosing this strategy, the brand extended its usual audience frame and made worldwide accessible a once upon a time exclusive event, the famous Fashion Week. How could you not love it, right?

And well, let’s not forget that if there’s a brand that totally knows how to win fan’s love, that’s certainly Nike.

During the COVID-19 crisis, it has shown huge support to the world, with the launch of its “Play inside, play for the world” campaign.

Nike's tweet from the campaign "Play inside.Play for the world".

Having a huge endorsement, with famous sports names like Cristiano Ronaldo sharing the message on social media as well, making this campaign a huge success.

But since Nike doesn’t play with half measures, the brand got all in and launched a variety of actions meant to support the community, like the mini-workout challenges series on Instagram.

Since we don’t wanna mess the surprise, we’ll let you discover more about Nike’s strategy during the pandemic later on.

3. Images make up for the most engaging posts

According to our recent Instagram engagement study, images best return savings when it comes to large profiles. And now we’re asking you, what’s your favorite kind of content delivered by fashion brands?

This chart represents the median number of saves on Instagram, divided by the account's size.

Our data shows 8 out of 9 best performing posts are images and applies to luxury fashion brands, as well sportswear and home style ones.

Which is pretty logical, if thinking, cuz’ you only need a glance at an outfit to absolutely love it - or not, and move on.

Or, if you have a more critical eye and a bit of time, to analyze the good and the bad.

So, in this case, a vivid and steady image is what users are most drawn to.

Example of images preferred to be used by brands from the fashion industry.

4. Luxury fashion is the most engaging segment on Facebook

We’ve seen how important Instagram is in the world of fashion, but what’s still worth remembering is that each segment has different kinds of audiences.

Let’s take high-end fashion, for example, which may have a more mature target than sportswear and homestyle brands.

And this is all due to the fact that people need time to make professional accomplishments that will assure them the financial resources needed to become clients of such exclusive brands.

This image presents the engagement level on Facebook of luxury brands from the fashion segment.

This sounds like a good explanation of why luxury fashion names rule on Facebook when it comes to engagement, giving the fact that this mother-platform has the most mature audience.

5. Brands from the sportswear segment have the highest engagement rate per post on Instagram

We’ve all seen the effects of the pandemic over the everyday lifestyle, and it gets even more obvious when it comes to our social media habits.

As sports apparel has tried over lockdowns to give some support to the community, with all kinds of initiatives, it’s no wonder why people are keener on engaging with sport-related brands.

Most of the time, individuals relate to the messages sent by sports brands because of their humanized approach, with their examples and stories being turned into life goals.

We’ve seen brands like Nike are loved for more than their pretty shoes, but much more for the inspiration given.

Therefore, with every social post sent out there, they send a new arrow of empowerment, a new opportunity of consolidating people’s self-trust.

Sportswear average engagement statistics based on Socialinsider analytics.

With a strategy that focuses on motivating their audience, there’s no wonder sportswear is the segment with the highest values when it comes to the average engagement per post.

Final thoughts

Marketing in the fashion industry ain’t easy since the clothing industry is a very competitive one.

But knowing how the digital landscape for this niche looks like will help you better understand your position in the market and help you orient your future actions.

Not to mention a couple of insights are always helpful, especially in those times of a crossroad, when creating or changing a social media strategy is badly needed.

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Elena Cucu

Elena Cucu

Content Writer @ Socialinsider

Mixing the words with the data is how a digital marketer should play the game of brands. And that’s me, a driven-born digital storyteller!

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