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Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise.
Consumers are following the mantra of the fashionistas and style gurus more closely than ever before. The fashion accessories market has grown dramatically and shows no signs of slowing.
The boost has generally been attributed to higher levels of employment and personal disposable income, while the cult of celebrity also exerts a massive influence. Every item worn by a Cara Delevigne or a David Beckham will be often receive a boost in sales.
According to Mintel consumer research consumers aged between 25-34 are ‘starting to dominate fashion accessories purchases’ , so retailers need to ensure that their products meet their needs.
This ever growing demographic are strongly influenced by the lastest trends showing the most interest in purchasing accessories from online platforms – highlighting the increasing growth in the online fashion accessories market.
The retail environment is fiercely competitive, so finding a niche in the accessories market may help you establish a foothold. Claire Collins, founder of Violet May, agrees that if you spot a gap in the market for a certain item then it’s wise to capitalise on it. Her company makes luxury business accessories that are orientated towards women aged between 25 and 40.
“I felt there was a gap in the market for this and I’m passionate about accessories and fashion,” she says. “I did it because there aren’t any products out there that are functional and stylish. It’s definitely an undeveloped sector.”
Wealth of choice
And those younger consumers that regularly buy accessories have a wealth of choice when it comes to choosing where to buy them.
At the cheaper end of the market, discount stores have boomed over the past few years and now enjoy nearly a quarter of the UK clothing market. Stores such as Primark and Matalan offer consumers ‘fast fashion’, copying trends from the catwalk, but producing copycat goods for a fraction of the designer price.
The majority of women prefer own-label goods and do not consider designer goods to be value for money. Instead they opt for the cheaper stores, where ‘disposable’ fashion is on offer.
Although they’re not currently strong in the accessories market, such stores are expanding their ranges rapidly and are likely to become more significant players in the future.
In the mid-market, Marks & Spencer is the most popular store for purchasing accessories, with Next and Next Directory just behind. Topshop has forged an innovative reputation for selling fashion accessories, for both the lines they stock and the methods of shopping they offer.
“Their prices are good and their quality seems very good,” says a spokeswoman for a major department store. “They bring designs out on to the shop floor before the big brands.”
At the top end of the spectrum, luxury designer labels have become more accessible to the buying public; Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Prada are not just for the rich.
There is now ample opportunity to get designer goods for a fraction of the original cost and plenty of reasonable quality high-street copies of catwalk fashions.
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