Secret Marketer: British consumers are in love with designer brands, especially when they’re 80% off

The Secret Marketer had a well-earned rest last week – on the ski slopes of Austria – but like most of you, I’m sure, my mind never shuts down.

Secret Marketer

Apart from the neverending ‘pinging’ from inane emails on my smartphone offering me the latest data-list for sale, requests for annual leave from my direct reports, and queries from the
boss on the latest marketing spend forecast (the latter quickly ignored), my mind was also observing how the lives of consumers are evolving.

In particular, I was noting how design now dominates everything that we buy and use. It wasn’t that long ago that we Brits would troop along to C&A – the clothes retailer that used to be on most high streets – to buy our ski gear in the most luminous shades possible; we would turn up at the ski resort on a pretty non-descript coach; go to the local shack and hire some non-descript planks of wood and plain boots, and traipse off to the piste.

Not any more. The whole experience is now a designer’s paradise. Ski suits are changed
on an annual basis, with the latest designs, colours and fabrics.

Skis and boots are equally the latest available, with fancy names, numbers and attachments. Even the obligatory ski helmets and poles are now heavily branded and customised.

As I looked at my fellow skiers in the ski lift queue, I couldn’t believe the array of branded ski goggles and sunglasses that people were wearing – many with the names of some of the biggest fashion brands on the cat walk – Gucci, Bolle, Armani.

It is very clear that today’s consumers have fallen in love with designer-everything. Look
at the fantastic rise of fashion discount chain TK Maxx, which recently announced another
10% increase in revenues. Post-recession, money remains tight for many people and yet we
are still flocking to the designer discount store, knowing we can get a shirt, dress or handbag with the best label inside – and an 80% price reduction label outside. It is a great model that has totally captured the mood of the British consumer.

As marketers, this is music from heaven – we are naturally creative people so knowing that customers buy into brands is great news. Just as importantly, as marketers we are strategically and commercially minded, so to see brands broaden their portfolio (Gucci), whilst others respond to changing customer needs with propositions that are attractive (TK Maxx), is even better.

If only my skiing prowess lived up to the brands of equipment I am gracing.



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