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Love Island fuels fast-fashion growth at the expense of the High Street

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Missguided, BooHoo and PrettyLittleThing featuring in the latest Love Island series delivered a double-digit online traffic hike for the fast fashion retailers – while High Street retailers struggled in the latest financial two-month period, says a new study.

As the official sponsor of Love Island, Missguided saw a 97% increase in online visitations over the duration of the series, with the retailer’s general public traffic rising by 9%, suggest an analysis by Hitwise.

Boo Hoo experienced a 75% uplift along with a newcomer Shein, which visits hiked by 117% from Love Island’s fans, with a 30% uplift from the general public.

The research goes on to say that fast-fashion websites now account for 66% of all fashion traffic. These retailers are currently dominating the market over the waning high-street brands as the likes of Forever 21 (-21%), Jack Wills (-7%), Cos (-4%) and Zara (-3%) are seeing a decline in online traction.

“The middle of summer typically sees a dip in online fashion activity as Britons travel and enjoy their summer holidays. But television shows, like Love Island, have been an effective springboard for Fast Fashion brands to grow throughout the summer,” says Lisa Luu, global head of insights at Hitwise.

She adds:” The success of Missguided and Shein in the past two months show that audience-based marketing never takes a rest. These fast fashion brands have been able to capitalise on the mega-popular television show, capturing the latest consumer trends through replica fashion items and relevant content. With a number of household brands failing to see online and offline growth, it’s crucial to keep tabs on target audiences’ needs and interests, in order to stay relevant in the current retail climate.”

But, can the Love Island hold responsibility for the fast-fashion boom or are there other factors that hold the key to their success?

In the first half of the year, despite a clear association with the Love Island, Shein was the fastest rising online fast fashion brand as it saw a significant 744% hike in website visits. In at second and third place Oh Polly and Nasty Girl with 446% and 158% uplift, respectively.

Expert opinion

Lisa Luu concludes: “As high street labels like Forever 21 and GAP struggle online and offline, fast fashion brands like PrettyLittleThing and [Missguided] have continued their meteoric rise. Event-based marketing, such as Love Island, is only one of the tactics successfully employed by these brands.”

“PrettyLittleThing, ASOS, Misguided and Boohoo have all mastered understanding their online customers inside-out. These brands are then tailoring their product, communications and promotional activity accordingly – an area that many high street labels are failing to do so at such rapid speed.”

Image: Missguided; Graphs: Hitwise 

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