The global street fashion market in 2011 was valued at USD 60 billion, and the number has soared to over 200 billion dollars in 2017 with annualized double-digit growth rate. Some figures show that spending on street fashion in the United States reached as high as USD 80 billion in 2016.
Under the backdrop of consumption upgrading, expenditures on street fashion have maintained steady growth. What is the per capita spending power for street fashion consumer? Which city boasts the highest number of fashionable men and women? What fashion item is the most popular? On March 29, during the 2018 AW MODE TALK at the Shanghai Fashion Week, answers were revealed as OFashion and Nielsen jointly released the world’s first street fashion big data research and user analysis report.
Xiao Yu, Founder and CEO of OFashion
Focusing on street fashion, the report is comprised of symposium-based qualitative analysis of consumers in China’s tier-one, -two and -three cities conducted by world-famous market research firm Nielsen and quantitative analysis of big data with three million users of OFashion, the most fashionable high-end fashion e-commerce platform. An in-depth research on the upscale, young and fashionable Chinese population segment, the report deciphers the full spectrum of changes in street fashion consumption in the Chinese market and the various main factors that affect street fashion sales, which serves as a solid basis for predicting future developmental trends in the street fashion market.
Hong Kai, Vice President of E-commerce Research at Nielsen
Skyrocketing Consumption and Rate of Consumption, Street Fashion Sought-after in Market
According to user big data analysis shown in the report, the growth rate of street fashion consumption is 3.7 times higher than non-street fashion’s, with the former pegged at 62% while the latter only recorded 17%. The rise in the number of street fashion consumers has completely eclipsed that of non-street fashion consumers for two consecutive years.
First- and Second-tier Cities in the Lead, Third-tier Cities Picking up Pace
As far as a decade or even longer ago, under the early impacts of factors like street culture and sneakers, street fashion began to appear in fashion magazines in first- and second-tier cities, in addition, clubs and other places where foreigners gather in Beijing provided a unique atmosphere conducive to the incubation and cultivation of street fashion. At present, consumption for street fashion in tier-one and tier-two cities has remained up high, while spending in third-tier or smaller cities are still relatively low, but the growth rate in these markets have exploded past top-tier cities. For instance, in 2017 the figure for the Qinghai surged to 385%.
In terms of spending power and the level of understanding of brands, users are categorized as key users, mid-range users and common users. Key users, who normally were born into a well-off family, had had access to these brands since middle school or even earlier, so they tend to become frequent buyers. In one of interviews, a certain key user once purchased 30 pairs of shoes in a single month.
The Post90s and Post95s are Main Consumers Group, Eastern and Northern China Have the Strongest Spending Power
According to the report analysis, the post90s and post95s (youngsters respectively were born in 1990-1999 and in 1995-1999) are the main consumer segments. Post95s generation in the first-tier cities and regions along the Chinese east and south coasts show the strongest spending power, though those in the northeastern and southwestern parts of the country are not far behind. From overview of the data, eastern China and northern China, as represented by Shanghai and Beijing respectively, boast the highest spending power, while southern China and southwestern China follow right in their wake. In terms of second-tier cities, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Chongqing round out the top three, while Guiyang, Hohhot and Nantong are the biggest spenders among tier-three cities.
Consumption in Men’s Street Fashion is Upgrading Quickly, Consumption Trend among Fashionable Males Looks Promising
According to the report, in the span of three years between 2015 and 2017, men’s expenditures on street fashion jumped from 29% to 36%. Meanwhile, under the momentum of consumption upgrading, the ratio of male consumers in non-street fashion has also buoyed gradually, and overall consumption trend among fashionable males is looking promising.
Consumption in Street Fashion Also Abides by the “Super User” Rule: Top 10% Key Users Account for 48% of Market Share
Key users stress on brand history, design concept and cultural attitude, they will seek out the latest and hottest products of each season, and expenditures on street fashion make up anywhere from 60% to 80% of total personal spending. When these hardcore street fashion users attend gathering and travel abroad, street fashion is their necessary and even the only option, and they are fervent about sharing fashion and trendsetting information in WeChat Moments and other social networks.
Most Popular Fashion Items: Sweatshirt and T-shirt, Fashionable Men and Women Have Differing Preferences
Clothing and shoes are the major categories in street fashion, and data indicates that sweatshirts, shoes and tees are the most popular single items, while women prefer accessories but men usually opt for shoes and clothes. In addition, women’s spending on street fashion, regardless of the category from clothing and shoes to bags and accessories, occupy more than 60% of personal expenditures. This is correlated to women’s preference for mixing and matching with unisex street fashion. Women’s spending makes up 73% of total sales in unisex street fashion, and women’s purchases account for 43% of total sales in mens street fashion.
Street Fashion Symbolizes Attitude in Life, Yeezy Sneakers Resonate with Post 80s
Based on analysis of street fashion brand approval levels among users, French and American brands like Supreme, Vetements, Air Jordan, Champion and Y-3 are adored by key users and the scope of purchasing is expansive. For instance, toothbrushes, lighters, accessories and other peripherals with the Supreme logo are also hugely popular for they also display attitude in life. Meanwhile, common users are affected by fads in their decisions to buy products from street fashion brands like Supreme and Off-white.
The Adidas Originals Yeezy series of sneakers is the “star product” among the post 80s (those born between 1980 and 1989), while the black-and-white striped t-shirt from Off-white is the most beloved item among the post 90s. Key users stay abreast on the latest sales information about and will line up to purchase hot items like limited editions or celebrity collaboration models, and other than wearing them some even consider these merchandises as collectibles.
What about Celebrity Endorsements? Key Users are Passionate, Mid-range Users are More Objective
Key users have said that they often bypass local Internet censorship to use foreign websites to check out what foreign celebs are wearing and keep themselves updates about trending fashion items. On the other hand, mid-range users are more objective, because while caring about what the stars wear, they would also consider their own physical attributes and how these items would actually look on themselves. Common users are more like nonchalant observers and usually will not let trends and fads dictate their purchase decisions.
Chinese and South Korean stars like Yang Mi, Kris Wu, Lu Han and G-Dragon are without a doubt some of the most influential “brand boosters” and are sometimes referred to as “walking fashion shows”. What they are seen wearing at airports, events and TV programs would often be deemed bellwethers in street fashion.
The street fashion market’s consumption value is compelling and its tremendous momentum is clear. Xiao Yu, the Founder and CEO of OFashion, has stated the willingness to share the big data from the platform to all partnered brands free of charge in order to help these brands better penetrate Chinese users and the Chinese market. All brands are welcome to get in touch with OFashion’s marketing department.