New brands are at an advantage this season, with 88 percent of fashion buyers saying they’re looking for a fresh perspective.
That’s according to data from wholesale management system Joor, which released bi-annual survey data from its top fashion brands and retail buyers this week. The desire for newness has been increasing steadily in recent seasons, while brands want to clear through existing product and capitalize on their best-selling styles, according to Joor.
Brands are attempting to toe the line between satisfying buyers and managing inventory effectively, with 97 percent releasing new collections this spring. While that number is greater than seasons past, 31 percent will also be offering carryover inventory—a significant increase from the 22 percent who said the same in 2022.
According to Joor, “fashion brands are exercising a degree of caution when it comes to their collections,” because 53 percent of buyers anticipate extending buying windows deeper into the season, which will allow them to chase sell-through, gauge trends and monitor changes in consumer spending. It’s a trend that is “most pronounced in North America,” though it is also growing across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. As a result, 31 percent of brands said they plan to lengthen their selling windows and accept orders closer to delivery.
These trends illustrate “an interesting juxtaposition in the global fashion wholesale market,” Joor CEO Kristin Savilia said. “Buyers around the world are looking for newness and the majority are entering market with open-to-buy budgets up from last year.”
However, “the uncertain global economic climate is leading to a more cautious approach from fashion brands, as exemplified by increasing levels of carry-over and evergreen product,” she added.
Nonetheless, most brands want to return to the market and see what’s available, with 94 percent saying they will be attending buying appointments this spring. In-person meetings are back to the norm after seasons of digital dominance, with 81 percent of brands saying they plan to host buyers in showrooms. That’s up from the fall season, when just 73 percent said the same.
“What remains consistent is the hybrid approach to market which has quickly become the norm—with brands and buyers opting to leverage both in-person and virtual appointments to place orders this season,” Savilia added. Virtual showrooms and digitized selling platforms became integral to retail business operations during the pandemic, with Joor processing $20 billion in wholesale transactions annually.
Most brands (89 percent) said they plan to use a combination of digital and in-person selling this spring as well as virtual sales platforms (94 percent) in some capacity. Meanwhile, retail buyers seem interested in doing business in person, with 70 percent saying they will use both physical and digital channels for buying, and 20 percent saying they will only meet with brand reps face-to-face.
Buyers are also broadening their assortments with a greater mix of products from across the globe. Three out of four buyers said their investment in international brands has remained consistent, or grown, over the past year. In 2022, 63 percent of Joor’s overall transaction volume came from international orders, with retailers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa placing the greatest number of global orders, and South American brands seeing the greatest benefit, in the form of a 26-percent increase in orders.
“While there is uncertainty in the global economic climate, brands and retailers are entering 2023 on strong footing,” according to the report. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of brands have seen sales volumes equivalent to, or greater than, the same period last year, while 64 percent of retail buyers have open-to-buy budgets for fall 2023 that are the same or larger than 2022, “underscoring opportunities for growth this season.”