Constant Sales Are Costing Brands Billions

If it seems like every big, corporate brand is perpetually on sale these days, that’s because they are, according to a new report from WGSN.

As detailed by Quartz, the report analyzed a collection of 107 retailers (57 women’s, 50 men’s), and found that the number of products discounted in-season “grew significantly in just the last two years,” and that the “issue of endless discounting” has cost brands “some $300 billion last year.”

Of the various reasons for the constant markdowns, online shopping is one of the biggies. “Many people now buy only when a product is discounted, cornering brands into offering earlier and bigger deals to keep them interested.”

Also at fault: the unavoidable lead times on global-operation-sized-production, which leaves brands “guessing far ahead of time what shoppers will want.” Which is why H&M is now sitting on $4 billion of unsold clothing (and considering they sell full suits for, like, $7, that is so, so, so much stuff).

So how do they fix it? Brands need to “get smarter and more flexible about when they drop new products, and to find ways to stand apart from the rest of a very crowded, largely undifferentiated marketplace,” the report said, citing those that have either mastered drop culture, or that have “sustainability credentials or other differentiating qualities,” and, consequently, have still been able to sell through lines at full-price.

You can read more about it at Quartz.

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