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Signals Analytics Expands Into Apparel After ‘Tough Year for Fashion Brands’

Another consumer intelligence platform has added apparel to its catalogue of industry-specific data offerings.

The artificial intelligence-powered consumer and market insights platform Signals Analytics, soon to be acquired by the global marketing firm Kenshoo, announced its entry into the apparel market Wednesday. The firm claims to connect data from more than 13,000 external sources—including Instagram, Target, Macy’s, Walmart, Amazon, Zappos and Nordstrom—and offer “contextualized insights across the consumer, competitive and commerce landscape.”

“2020 was a tough year for fashion brands,” Kate Dubois, general manager of market intelligence at Signals Analytics, told Sourcing Journal. “The global pandemic exacerbated a number of challenges that the industry already faced—product development had become too slow in a world of fast fashion, consumers have become more conscious of sustainability and the environment and the need to create more personalized experiences in the online world is top of mind. There is a growing recognition that apparel brands need better access to data and analytics to underpin all of this.”

Dubois acknowledged that Signals Analytics’ upcoming acquisition played a role in its decision to take on the clothing category. Kenshoo, which announced its intent to acquire Signals Analytics in December and plans to close the deal later this month, has worked with brands like H&M, Adidas, Coach, Kate Spade and Levi’s on marketing campaigns for many years. Demand from these brands to incorporate more diverse datasets “certainly” influenced the decision to expand with a formal apparel-focused product, Dubois said.

Other than apparel, Signals Analytics generally covers food and beverage, beauty and personal care and consumer electronics. Its current roster of brands includes Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson and Mars.

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Signals Analytics’ initial apparel market overview highlights one of the champions of pandemic apparel—activewear. As new product launches across women’s apparel fell 63 percent last year, it said, activewear proved to be 2020’s most-discussed style. Features like impact-absorption, fast-dry and antimicrobial materials proved to be of particular interest to consumers, with conversations around these subjects up by 272 percent, 394 percent and 740 percent, respectively.

The company picked up another industry buzzword: sustainability. In the past six months, it said, consumer discussions around this topic grew 21 percent. Certain materials saw particularly strong jumps in social discussions, including bamboo, up 368 percent; jute, up 2,566 percent; and lyocell, up 691 percent.

Signals Analytics also noted high demand for chunky heels, wedge soles, and wingtips in the men’s shoe category. With few men’s products currently possessing these attributes, it said, a “clear white space and opportunity” exists for designers to reconsider gender norms and product features for men.

Signals Analytics’ data pool includes 1.8 million products, 12.9 million consumer discussions, 13 million reviews, 20,000 key opinion leader posts and 20,000 patents.