Price rise strategies deployed by US premium labels
Inflation is a worldwide phenomenon that is having an impact on fashion consumers. While ultra-luxury labels continue to grow, the premium fashion market could be negatively affected by consumer choices, according to Retviews, the data analysis solution devised by digital consulting firm Lectra. A Retviews study has notably highlighted the strategies adopted by premium US labels with regards to pricing and promotions. Combining data from Michael Kors, Coach, Tory Burch and Kate Spade, the study showed that prices in the premium end of the market have increased the most in the USA, where they grew 36% in one year, compared to the 26% rise recorded in the UK and the 20% one observed in Europe.
An aggressive increase in prices that could be explained by the fact that “until now, affordable luxury brands in the US have not been faced with a slump in demand,” according to the study, which stated however that a slowdown in demand might be felt presently.
US labels are not increasing prices by the same rates across all product types. Between 2021 and 2022, the study found that the dresses category recorded the highest price increase, of the order of 46% in one year (to an average price of $872), followed by shirts (whose price was up by 35%), outerwear (by 34%), handbags (by 29%) and suits (by 25%). “A strategic choice by affordable luxury brands, since consumers will likely continue to spend in the [dresses and shirts] categories while limiting their expenditure on casual clothes,” said Retviews.
The study then focused on the labels’ leather goods products, whose prices have significantly increased in the course of a year. Kate Spade, for example, increased the number of leather goods items in the $200-$399 price range by 45%, while Tory Burch doubled the share of its leather goods items priced between $600 and $799.
But price rises do not mean these labels have stopped discounting. On the contrary, the market has become more promotion-happy, in order to attract customers and offload inventory. “However, deciding which discount rate to apply is essential for affordable luxury brands, since excessive discounts will erode brand image and destroy added value,” said Retviews. For example, Tory Burch is applying an average discount rate of 37% in the USA in 2022, affecting 57% of its assortment. In Europe, the label applies promotions to a reduced number of items (50% of its range), with a lower discount (31% off on average).
At Michael Kors, the share of non-discounted items fell by 14% in one year, while the number of items with between 40% and 50% off rose by 20% over the period (from a 10% to a 12% share of the assortment), while those in the 60% to 70% off bracket increased by 25% (to 10% of the assortment).
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