Tori Attwood examines the successes of the city's e-tailer rivals
CATWALK, click, checkout. Thanks to the explosion of online retailers, never before has it been so easy to get the goods you want. Shop something today, then wear it tomorrow – or don’t even wait, thanks to same-day delivery from the likes of Next and Amazon. Online shopping is fast, convenient and affordable, and boy do we Brits love it; on average, we spend £1billion a week online in the UK. And with online retail sales already up 20.7% from last year, it seems like even more of us are trading in the high street for an online shop.
This rise in changing shopping habits is a trend that Manchester has played a prominent part in. Big name online brands such as Boohoo and Missguided were born on the once factory-clad streets of the cotton capital, but with a decidedly digital presence. With industry experts warning that Manchester’s online retailers threaten to take over the fashion market with their bold, budget looks, could the northern capital be ready to retake a crucial status in the fashion industry?
We’ve looked at Manchester’s key players in the online fashion market and examined their projected successes for 2017.
With 2.6m followers on Instagram and a staggering 4.5m customers reported last year (August 2016), Boohoo’s fashion reign is booming. This year, it continues its goliath growth by winning acquisition of prominent American e-tailer Nasty Gal for £16m. Though the ASOS-rival was founded just ten years ago, it has quickly become a key player in fast, affordable fashion thanks to flashy TV ads and big name collabs. Singer Charlie XCX, plus size blogger Nadia Aboulhosn and model-in-the-making Jordyn Woods are amongst some of the hot-shot names on Boohoo’s books.
Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and covetable fashion photographer Rankin - Lavish Alice designers Lee Bloor and Matthew Lucian have worked with many covetable contacts. Bridging the gap between high street and high fashion, Lavish Alice’s trend-setting designs have quickly caught the eyes of global style icons due to their couture-inspired style. Forget throwaway fashion, this is a wardrobe worth investing in.
Simply Be & Jacamo may hold their roots in catalogue mailings, but the relaunched ‘digital first’ retailer has big plans for its digital growth, with an online sales target of 70% predicted for this year. Nestled in the city centre’s stylish Northern Quarter, the curve-loving brands are already a firm favourite with plus size influencers, and their latest advert boasts a stunning line-up of Iskra Lawrence, Vogue Italia model Marquita Pring and curve IT girl Denise Bidot.
With its million-pound Salford HQ boasting a selfie tunnel, indoor jungles and floor-to-ceiling pinks, Missguided is definitely made for millennials. The fashion label accelerates ‘fast fashion’, with 300 new lines landing on the site every week to upkeep the promise of “killer garms for the dreamers, believers and night lovers”. After reportedly smashing revenue and growth figures at the end of 2016, taking in a colossal £117 million in annual revenue, business is most certainly booming for the young e-tailer.
Through designs that are more Kardashian than catwalk, Missguided keeps things real for its young, snapchat-centric audience. Key campaign cover girls include IT girl Amina Blue and Jourdan Dunn, the British supermodel who’s ruled Victoria’s Secrets runways and regularly speaks out about racism in the fashion industry.
Manchester-born Boohoo’s rebellious younger sister offers a sexier, sassier take on everyday fashion. Founded by the sons of Boohoo’s co-founder Mahmud Kamani, PrettyLittleThing saw sales surge to 17million at the end of February 2016 thanks to edgy advertising aimed at fashion-forward teens. At the end of 2016, Boohoo purchased a substantial stake in PrettyLittleThing (£3.3 million to be exact).
On-trend elegance with a high-street twist; Glamorous.com is popular across the globe for its chic and cheap clothing. Forged in Ancoats amidst the last recession, entrepreneur Kim Jin has sold the brand into 4,000 doors and e-tailers worldwide including deals with ASOS, Very and Next. Building on the brand's online success, Glamorous launched its first bricks-and-mortar store last year at the Trafford Centre.
Fitness fanatics are sure to be familiar with the household names that make up the Hut Group’s portfolio. The powerhouse behind over 100 health, fitness and beauty websites including MyProtein, lookfantasic and All Sole Footwear, the Hut Group is becoming an increasingly key player for online fitness and accessories shopping. Despite being a relatively new international player, the Northwich based retailer recently scooped up the International Growth Retailer of the Year Award thanks to its ambitious growth strategy over just three years.