In 2012, sales within the Dutch designer clothing market fell by 1% in current value terms.
Demand for luxury products in general suffered as the Dutch economy started to show signs of recession in 2011, with undermined consumer confidence directly impacting sales of apparel products.
Despite a positive attitude towards branded luxury products, more Dutch people restricted purchases or looked for less expensive items, resulting in negative growth for most subcategories during 2012.
Despite a general contraction in demand, some designer apparel manufacturers responded with intensified promotions and the release of more frequent collections aimed to induce demand
According to a recent report, 'Designer Apparel (Ready-To-Wear) in the Netherlands,' men's designer jeans generated 3% current value growth influenced by the greater focus of manufacturers on the men's segment, targeting younger consumers with high-profile advertising campaigns and in-store promotions. Men's designer underwear was another product that received renewed promotional efforts resulting in an increase in sales after a period of negative performance.
While Dutch men shift towards less expensive apparel, more people favoured spending less in terms of volume and purchasing higher- quality designer items from renowned brands such as Bjorn Borg.
Larger subcategories in men's designer clothing such as jackets and coats or shirts continued to experience lower current value growth in 2012. People restricted purchases of more expensive items, postponing buying designer products or choosing standard apparel products that carried lower prices.
The market for luxury clothing is highly fragmented in the Netherlands. Due to widespread presence and multiple brands, manufacturers do not often hold more than 10-20% of total sales of the category in which they are present. In 2012, manufacturers intensified promotional efforts in view of the contraction in demand, seeing it as an opportunity to maintain promotion and consolidate their position and brand strength.
Sales of designer clothing are not likely to register a rapid recuperation through to 2017. Dutch consumers are set to remain highly cautious about economic developments and the prospects of income recuperation that would create a rise in consumer confidence.
Many consumers are likely to continue to restrict purchases of more expensive items or shift towards less expensive clothing. Designer clothing is likely to see more sales sourced via in-store promotional activity with lower prices being pursued to attract demand and to maintain a balance with the introduction of new collections.
For more information on the Dutch designer clothing market, see the latest research: Dutch Designer Clothing Market
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