In our recently released 14th Annual Spring Youth Culture Study 2014, among the many topics covered, we asked thousands of 13-25-year-olds across the United States, several questions about specific aspects of fashion. Included in this robust section of the Study were insights about what young people had in their closets, brands that resonate the most with their lifestyle choices, which brands in fashion, footwear, and accessories they own, plan to buy, and like the most, retail spending patterns, price points for denim, T-shirts, and footwear. And finally, which fashion brands they like the least.
Clearly, no brand or retailer wants to be high on this list. And this year, two brands were alarmingly disliked the most in that their percentages spiked among specific target markets.
This year in 2014, the least favorite brand overall is Hollister at 17%, followed by its parent brand, Abercrombie & Fitch at 13.8%. It is an incredibly challenging situation to be the fashion brand named as the least favorite among 13-25-year-olds across the United States. Brand backlash among a tech-savvy, highly digital youth marketplace requires a complete overhaul. Winning back trust and gaining back marketshare means new designs, marketing strategies, advertising finesse, sponsorships that align with a rather unforgiving demographic, and a fresh perspective on what went wrong and why. Only then can they hope to fix it.
Both brands announced during the time of this writing of major overhauls and staff changes. Hollister will be repositioned as a fast-fashion brand in order to try and compete with H&M, Forever 21, and Uniqlo. Abercrombie & Fitch will be repositioned as an older brand intended for college-age students rather than teens.
While the teen retailer landscape has been dismal in the past two years, and especially the last 6 months, these 2 brands have had compounded problems. Abercrombie has been dealing with brand backlash after its CEO made comments about what types of people should be wearing the brand, and Hollister’s surf-inspired aesthetics simply don’t resonate with today’s youth marketplace. There are many other reasons for the brand backlash, including marketing efforts that are out of touch for both brands with today’s teens, and difficulty figuring out discounts and price points within a cash-strapped marketplace. Both brands will also be closing stores in 2014.
What is interesting also about the least liked brands is that Hollister this year, is least liked in relatively similar percentages among males and females. Abercrombie & Fitch is more least liked among females.
Just when it seems like rock-bottom for Hollister and Abercrombie, the data reveals that things are actually even worse.
Least favorite brands by age groups always reveal significant findings. First, Hollister is least liked among 18-20-year-olds, whereas Abercrombie & Fitch is the least liked brand among 21-25-year-olds—the very target market that Abercrombie is planning to move into. This will be a challenge.
For more information about other top most-liked and least-liked brands or more information about our 14th Annual Spring Youth Culture Study 2014, contact firstname.lastname@example.org; (323) 630-4000.
Subscription packages for 2014 are now available! Up next: 3rd Annual Sustainability and the State of the Future Youth Culture Study 2014.