May 16, 2018 | By Nivindya Sharma
Jun 13, 2017
By Emma Griffin
Wondering what consumers are taking on their summer holidays this year? Well, the retail data is here to reveal all. In fact, in May Instock retail data showed that UK women’s swimwear volumes increased 18.4% year-on-year (YOY) and 5.2% month-on-month (MOM).
Swimwear has traditionally been dropped into the apparel mix mainly in March/April, however 2017 sees swimwear drops become more spread out over the first few months of the year. While some of this reflects a shift towards more transseasonal drops, it is also indicative of a change in consumers’ holidaying habits which are no longer restricted to breaks in summer alone as well as a resurgence in swim as a fitness activity.
Bikinis stay popular, but the one-piece gains most traction
For most, the bikini is the go-to piece and it held 59.2% of the new-in swimwear mix in May, with the triangle-shaped bikini rising significantly YOY, aided by celebrity influences such as the Jenner sisters and Bella Hadid.
Whilst the bikini has seen the biggest volumes enter the swimwear mix, the swimsuit has increased 61.8% YOY, with a 43.3% increase in out-of-stock volumes. Alongside the obvious influences of the upcoming Baywatch remake, the success of the bodysuit in 2016 (which we wrote about here) has encouraged a rise in the one-piece swimsuit due to the adaptability of the product for both everyday and beach wear.
Trend incorporation in swimwear drives cross-selling opportunities
Swimwear has also become a more trend-driven category as fast-fashion retailers such as Boohoo, Topshop and New Look offer pieces that are directly inspired by top trends. Inspired by the overall 80’s influences of this season, high-waisted bikini bottoms have increased 27.3% YOY creating subtle mid-rift cover ups which will continue into A/W 17/18, whilst plunge designs have increased 51.4% YOY.
For S/S 17/18, the swimwear offer at fast-fashion retailers also incorporates bardot styles and one-shoulder designs that would not look out of place at festivals or summer barbeques. Versatility is key here as it offers cross-selling opportunities which retailers must capitalise upon via online editorials and outfit-building suggestions, helping shoppers visualise multiple uses for their swimwear purchases.
Shapewear driven swimwear must be married with trend-led details
As the body-positive movement gains momentum, retailers across the board would benefit from catering to a variety of shape and style options for their customers. In May, volumes of shapewear within the swim category have increased 48.7% YOY and present a growing opportunity for retailers to adopt.
While fast-fashion retailers are excelling with trend-driven swimwear, more incorporation of shapewear into ranges would encourage brand loyalty and drive new business.
On the other hand, midmarket retailers offer a broad spectrum of shapewear incorporated swimwear, providing alternatives to those who prefer to bare less, but would benefit from upgrading styling and adopting trend-led design .such as embroidery, cut-out features and frilled shoulders.
The success of shapewear swim products lie in the design, as by incorporating trends seen throughout apparel, shaping elements can be camouflaged and consumers are more likely to buy into the product and wear it confidently.
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