The textile industry and retail sector did not advertise the products to the general public a few decades ago and today this appears strange for an industry that is completely customer oriented. It was sometime later that exhibitors and retailers devised their own promotions and advertisements without any help from professionals. To this date, the impromptu advertising and marketing strategies would have continued if it was not for the aggressive competition in the apparel market.
In the present times, appropriate advertising is considered far more significant than opening a physical store. The retailers, designers and manufacturers create awareness regarding the product and make it a brand prior to the launch so that the prospective buyers know about the product's existence. Stressing on product's uniqueness and superiority has become inevitable for the fashion world, as with each day new competitors sprout in the market.
The options for advertising of apparel brands are many. However, the apparel designers or manufacturers analyse the target market and plan the advertising strategy accordingly. When elderly customers are the target audience, the retailers often choose electronic or print media to create awareness regarding the clothing line. In case of young consumers, internet advertising and electronic medium are preferred. The purpose of advertising is not only to create more sales, but also to create a niche market for the apparel brand. If a brand has not progressed to a brick and mortar store, then it is important to create virtual shops in one or more online marketplaces. The benefits of creating a virtual shop via a personal website can help the retail store to customise the shop.
The apparel retailers and manufacturers have shifted the focus from conventional marketing sources like billboards, print ads and electronic media commercials to mobile advertising. These days, more and more people are using smart phones to make retail purchases on the go, and marketers are taking notice. The simple explanation for this is that the consumers, both young and middle-aged, are constantly keeping in touch with the fashion world with the help of smart phones and also online shopping is gaining momentum. So, whether it is about finding choices in colours or searching a bigger size, mobile phones can do it all. As per a report presented by xAd, mobiles have contributed to over U.S. $ 200 billion in offline and online sales of apparels in 2013. xAd also revealed that 77 percent of transactions related to smart phones are actually happening within the stores.
The retail apparel marketers are also progressively using techniques like geo-targeting i.e. aiming for mobile ads to draw consumers to brick and mortar stores. The success of mobile ads and online advertising is also easy to measure. Marketers' measure ad success by the number of times consumers click on links and in order to understand the buying behaviour, marketers and advertisers also study what people do after clicking the link or visiting the sites.
The affordable and less popular brands often invest in only some of the advertising options like giving a print ad or running a one-minute ad film on local television channel. The more a company spends on advertising, the costlier the apparel brand gets. Nevertheless, luxury apparel brands set aside a budget specially assigned for marketing and advertising the brands. So it is more common to spot luxury apparel brands on billboards, watch the ads on television, internet, mobile or see celebrities endorsing the brands.
The experts recommend that the first step of apparel brands should be to find out the advertising to sales ratio in the apparel market. There are some companies that give an estimated figure regarding the marketing or advertising spending in the financial statements, which can help the new entrants in calculating the estimated budget.
The marketing team of a particular brand can easily calculate the percentage of budget that needs to be allotted for marketing and advertising. Some experts also recommend beginning at 5 percent and then adjust the projected spending up or down based on the size of market, the cost of media, the amount being spent by the competitors, and the speed at which the brand would like to grow.
In spite of all the benefits of advertising, there are many retail apparel brands that have considerably cut down the advertising budget in order to cope with the economic slowdown. Even as the apparel market is predicted to grow to US $ 540 billion by 2025 in China and US $ 200 in India, apparel stores have shown increasing resistance to invest a high amount in advertising.
Unlike a decade ago, there are far more segments that a single retail apparel store caters to and these include lifestyle segmentation, geographical segmentation, gender related segments and age related segments. The cost of advertising has gone high and considering that there are several issues from finding right labour force to getting the right country for outsourcing, there are never-ending issues and thus advertising often gets sidelined.
But, with global economy recovering gradually, apparel advertising is once again gaining momentum and with e-retail becoming popular, advertising for apparel is being done through newer media channels like mobile apps. The global internet advertising revenue from 2013 to 2018 was calculated to be around US dollars 117.2 billion. It is also estimated that by the end of the year 2014 it will touch U.S. dollars 133 billion.
In 2015 the internet advertising revenue would be somewhere around U.S. dollars 149.2 billion and in 2016 it will be approximately U.S. dollars 164.2 billion. By the year 2017 the global internet advertising revenue for apparel would reach a staggering U.S. dollars 178.9 billion and in 2018 it would be around U.S. dollars 194.5 billion.
In the U.S.A. alone the apparel industry spent 17.87 million dollars on outdoor advertising in the year 2013-2014. The sector's total ad expenditure amounted to 646.6 million dollars in this year.
The definition of apparel industry has changed now, as today a single garment shows the hard work of many from artisans to designing team to technical team. Apparel industry refers to the phenomenon of the society. Advertising industry helps the apparel sector to grow beyond the set boundaries and the journey of many brands reveal that apparel sector cannot do without advertising. So more budget or low budget, advertising has become an integral part of apparel and fashion industry without which it would be impossible to survive the rising competition.