In this article, we focus on fashion trends among Romanian women. The research consisted of an online survey conducted on our platform questia.ro which was active between April 9th and April 16th 2018. The survey covered 901 respondents, with a +/- 4% margin of error when reported to the Romanian online population.

Overview

The objective of this study was to look into the factors that influence Romanian women’s clothing purchase decisions.

The fashion retail industry plays a big role in the global economy. According to Fashion United, the global apparel market is valued at 3 trillion dollars and accounts for 2 percent of the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to Statista, the most important highlights for the 2018 fashion industry worldwide are:

  • Revenue in the "Fashion" segment amounts to US$480,912m in 2018
  • Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 10.3 % resulting in a market volume of US$712,517m in 2022
  • The market's largest segment is the segment "Apparel" with a market volume of US$317,848m in 2018
  • The average revenue per user (ARPU) in the "Apparel" segment amounts to US$269.87 in 2018
  • In the "Apparel" segment, the number of users is expected to amount to 1,580.1m by 2022
  • From a global comparison perspective it is shown that most revenue is generated in China (US$195,166m in 2018)

Fashion United presents that:

  • The womenswear industry is valued at 621 billion dollars
  • The menswear industry is valued at 402 billion dollars
  • The retail value of the luxury goods market is 339.4 billion dollars
  • Childrenswear had a global retail value of 186 billion dollars
  • Sports footwear is valued at 90.4 billion dollars
  • The bridalwear industry is valued at 57 billion dollars

The top challenges for the fashion industry identified for 2018 by McKinsey & Company in “The State of Fashion 2018” are:

  • Dealing with volatility, uncertainty and shifts in the global economy
  • Competition from online and omnichannel
  • Value chain improvement and digitization
  • Decreasing foot traffic and offline retailing pressure

The ‘State of Fashion 2018’ report realized by McKinsey & Company in collaboration with the Business of Fashion (BoF) also highlights the most important trends that will impact the fashion business in 2018. Some of these are: taking advantage of the customers’ digital obsession and create a deep understanding of each shopper and leverage those insights across every touchpoint, introducing artificial intelligence across all parts of the fashion value chains, personalization and curation will become more important to the customer, economic uncertainty and unpredictability are the new normal, Asian players global scale investments and expansion.

Customer attention is also tuned to new communications channels. Social media users report that they are now spending more than three hours per day on average on these platforms. This has a profound impact on fashion, as purchase decisions are influenced by social media, peer reviews and influencer marketing.

Fashion United also reports that the most traded apparel and textile products are non-knit women’s suits, knit sweaters, knit T-shirts and non-knit men’s suits.

According to Forbes, the apparel names topping Forbes' 2017 Global 2000 are Christian Dior, Nike, and Inditex as the largest apparel companies. Christian Dior proves to be the biggest in the apparel industry with $43.6 billion in sales, $1.95 billion in profit and $68.3 billion in assets. Christian Dior continues to bring in revenue courtesy of affiliated luxury brands through LVMH, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, a French luxury conglomerate. Nike came in the second place of the largest fashion company worldwide in 2017 with sales of $33.8 billion, profit of $4 billion and assets of $23 billion. Spanish giant Industria de Diseno Textil (Inditex) comes third with sales of $25.7 billion and profit of $3 billion, and the company’s assets of $21 billion in 2017. Inditex owns brands such as Zara, Pull&Bear and Stradivarius.

According to the “Consumer Buying behaviour in Fashion Retailing: Empirical Evidencies” study that focuses on gender differences in consumer buying behaviour of a Portuguese population when they go shopping to buy apparel products, consumers normally look for pieces of clothing that might highlight their physical features (valid for both men and women). Women consumers appreciate in the first place satisfaction and comfort, followed by function; yet men prefer comfort, followed by satisfaction and, after that, quality. Interestingly, most of men (58,2%) answered that they don’t feel more tempted to look in the store for the products seen on the shop window, while, on the contrary, the majority (50,8%) of women say that they do it. Results show that, during the regular season, both men and women mostly go shopping once a month, being that much more evident among men (63%) than women (57%). Yet, a great part (16,3%) of women go shopping more than three times a week.

More women than men buy clothing in order to lift their spirits, as is stated in “A Study of Clothing Purchasing Behavior By Gender with Respect to Fashion and Brand Awareness”, study available on Research Gate. Also, men buy clothing in order to conform to fashion far more than women do.

As Statista points our, Romania’s household consumption expenditure on clothing and footwear in 2016 was 3,3 billion euros, placing us on on the 16th position in the top of Household consumption expenditure on clothing and footwear in the European Union in 2016, by country.

Moving on to fashion trends, the ones for Spring Summer 2018 include sequins, pastels, heritage checks, plastic, ruffles and fringing according to Haper’s Bazaar. Bold colours should be on your checklist for this summer as fashion shows from New York to Paris were awash with vibrant, bold shades to suit every colouring. Designers also presented sheer coats, dresses and skirts revealing cycling shorts and full brief on the catwalks. Great news for all fairytale lovers out there as Cinderella shoes also are on top of 2018’s fashion trends. If you're one of those people who carries both a tote bag and a handbag, then you're ahead of the game. Many famous brands adopted a “more really is more” approach to accessories by styling their models with two or more bags at once.

Marie Claire reports that, crayola colors (tomato red, cobalt, emerald green and bright yellow) are “the new black” while pastel nuances (lilac, pale pink and green) are set for a major comeback. Sportswear, check prints, floral dresses, accessories, bumbags and earrings are really trendy in 2018.

Telegraph and Vogue also present a guide to the 2018 fashion season. They highlight the sequins, feathers, sportswear, denim, trench coats and frothy dresses.

Below, we present some data to shed some light on these trends.

Results

Asked about how often they buy clothes for themselves, most women (66.3%) said they buy clothes once a month or less.

Most women (50.9%) buy clothes on a constant basis despite the season. However, shopping for clothes in the warm season is more popular than in the cold one, with 43.4% of respondents shopping in summer and spring while only 5.7% shop clothes in autumn and winter.

Women buy new clothes mostly because they want to replace their worn-out clothes (63.8%) and diversify their wardrobe (62.5%). Also, more than a quarter of respondents (26.4%) shop clothing because it’s a way of relaxing themselves, thus confirming a previous study that stated that 82.3% of women tend to buy clothing in order to lift their spirits.

The most bought clothing products are shirts, sweaters and blouses (54.2%) followed by trousers and shorts (14.9%) and lingerie (13.9%).

Respondents were given choices of common purchase-influence factors and were asked which factors influence clothing purchases. The most influential factor when buying clothing is Price, with 72.8% of respondents reporting that price influences their clothing purchase decisions. Quality (68.5%), Comfort (64.3%) and Material (63.7%) follow in close succession after Price.

Most females would describe their fashion style as casual or smart casual (50.2%). The Oxford Dictionary defines the term “smart casual” as “neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style, especially as worn to conform to a particular dress code”. The next most popular fashion style among Romanian women is the sports style (21.4%) and classic style (18.3%).

When purchasing clothes, 84,3% of women agreed to a great and very great extent that they tend to buy clothes that they visually like despite the clothing style. Our responders have mixed feelings about wanting to try new styles of clothing with 29.8% agreeing to a great extent they like trying new clothing styles and 36.9% agreeing to a small extent.

Most of the responders are not fashion gurus/advisors for their friends as 63.2% agreed to a small and very small extent that their friends or acquaintances consult them when buying clothes.

65.4% of our responders are influenced to a small and very small extent by popular brands when they decide to buy clothes and thus, they are willing to try new brands they have not heard of before. This doesn’t come as a surprise since the price is the most important factor that influences the decision of buying and only 22.1% of responders said they buy new clothes because they want to be fashionable. Also, when asked if they choose clothes based on the prices rather than fashion trends, 60.3% of responders agreed to a great and very great extent.

Romanian female responders tend to not spend too much money on clothing, with 79.6% of responders sharing this feeling.

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