Kayla Marci

July 13, 2021

Q2’s best sellers as told by retail data

Reflecting on the past quarter's hottest trends to help you trade more competitively throughout the year.

That's the first half of 2021 done and dusted! From rising vaccination rates to Billie Eilish's new era, it's been nothing short of eventful. So, how did fashion trends shape up? And did you have some of these winners in your assortments?

Using EDITED Market Intelligence, we’ve analyzed and compiled what trends were successful and where they're going next, so retailers know whether to go hard or go home with their investment.

Before we reveal what customers snapped up, let's take a look at the retailers that are getting it right so far:

Celebrity partnerships, gender-fluid appeal, attractive pricing, alongside epitomizing the comfort aesthetic, have contributed to Crocs reporting its third consecutive quarter of record revenue and double-digit sales across ecommerce platforms.

Riding the resale market boom, thredUP completed its IPO, reporting a 15.2% increase in revenue and 14% increase in active buyers YoY. 

Inditex had a 50% increase in net sales YoY, with online sales shooting up 67% YoY while operating costs were reduced by 7% vs. 2019. Continuing the clash of the retail titans, The H&M Group’s net sales in local currencies skyrocketed by 75%.

These examples are just some of many proving investing in ecommerce is critical to post-pandemic survival. Has Q2 been a struggle? Talk to us today to find out how EDITED can help your business thrive. 

EDITED user? Log in to read our Quarterly Industry Review - Q2 2021 for a data-packed overview of the past three months.

Now, let’s unveil what worked for Q2. Did you back any of these moneymakers in your lineup?

All dressed up - finally somewhere to go

The pandemic made retailers more surgical with their assortments, leading to reduced product counts in categories that house formal or occasionwear items in an attempt to limit inefficient stock liabilities. However, with restrictions relaxing and consumers savoring their long-awaited Hot Vax Summer, interest in dresses for Q2 bounced back, with the number of new arrivals selling out up 37% YoY. 

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Images via & Other Stories, Zara and boohoo

Riffing on viral dress trends, mass brands landed 70s psychedelic prints, retro florals and Cottagecore-inspired designs. Consumer appetite for sexy dressing was ubiquitous. Sell outs for new mini silhouettes were up 88% YoY, while dresses with cut-out details surged 453% YoY.

As predicted in Q1, green is shaping up to be the color of 2021. For new dress sell outs in the UK, it was the top-performing hue. Alongside neutral and white, green dresses outsold black in the US. While comfort remains a driving factor in footwear, the resurgence of dresses propelled sell outs of high heels up 85% vs. last year. 

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Back to beaches

Borders reopening combined with consumer desire for escapism led to the return of swimwear. The number of new styles selling out of majority SKUs YoY elevated 194% for menswear and 56% for womenswear. 

May saw the Coconut Girl aesthetic blow up on social platforms, influencing summer assortments with Y2K and nostalgic surfing elements. Printed swim shorts also performed well, alongside bikinis with strappy waist ties, one-pieces with tie fronts, high-cut silhouettes and citrus hues. 

This sector is poised for further growth, with a host of brands entering the pool. Good American expanded its offering and introduced Always Fits Swim, lingerie brand CUUP introduced its first collection and Kylie Jenner filed trademark requests for "Kylie Swim” and "Kylie Swim by Kylie Jenner."

The influx of new players indicates retailers are banking on the category to boom once international tourism completely reopens. Consumers will also be wanting to chase the winter sun and extend vacations to make up for having been robbed of travel in 2020. This will make swim and resortwear a particularly lucrative category and create a longer selling season. For Q2, men's vacation shirts saw a 109% increase YoY in majority SKU sell outs while kaftans had a 41% increase in investment. 

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Image via H&M Email US - Jun 13, 2021

Power casual

COVID has altered workwear as we knew it. Even with consumers returning to the office, remote working and flexible hours will remain the norm, paving the way for hybrid workleisure to replace stuffy suits and pandemic sweats. 

In Q2, blazers were back in a big way. New styles selling out of majority SKUs jumped 120% for womenswear and 206% for menswear YoY, with contrasting elements resonating for each consumer. In menswear, over half of the new styles that sold out were described as a “skinny fit,” with single-breasted designs favored. In womenswear, double-breasted blazers outpaced single and products described as “tailored” alongside oversized silhouettes were the top performers. 

So, where does this leave loungewear? Retailers are treating the products that slot into this category as their new basics. Even though Q2 last year was peak loungewear, investment has grown upwards of 20% for hoodies, sweatshirts and sweatpants YoY. Yet are consumers still interested? 

Sell out activity remains positive for menswear. Across the US and UK combined, new sweatpants selling out of majority SKUs are up 41%, hoodies, 17% and sweatshirts, 29% YoY. 

However, for womenswear, supply is outpacing demand. Sell outs are down YoY across all key categories - sweatpants plummeted 77%, hoodies 42%, sweatshirts 28% YoY. The styles that did hit the mark for women were high-waist, drawstring and cuffed joggers, zip-up hoodies and crew-neck sweatshirts, all in oversized silhouettes. The data suggests retailers pump the breaks on bringing in so much newness and instead, concentrate on replenishing or refreshing best performing lounge styles. 

Consumers won’t be willing to give up comfort and functionality, especially as WFH remains essential, making them core selling points within assortments. The retailers that can successfully elevate loungewear and casualize workwear will be able to win consumer’s wallets in the next phase of the new normal.

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Image via Banana Republic Homepage US - Apr 29, 2021

Enter the new age of denim

Denim has officially usurped loungewear. New styles landing across the US and UK market online are 60% with sell outs rising 15% YoY. 

Basking in the glory of the comeback, Levi’s reported Q2 sales returned and, in some cases, exceeded post-pandemic figures. The denim giant even increased pricing by 5%, proving the undeterred demand for new jeans post-lockdown. 

The death of skinny jeans has been hotly debated for some time, with Gen Z branding them as “cheugy” adding to their demise. For womenswear, despite skinny and straight leg styles seeing similar investment for Q2, the more relaxed cut outsold skinnies by 65%. Wide-leg and flares all moved well, despite lower investment. The millennial-favorite skinny reigned supreme in menswear, equalling over half of new jean styles and emerging as the top performing fit. Denim shorts also had a 97% upswing in investment. 

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Image via Boyish Jeans Email US - Apr 30,2021

While 90s and Y2K influences have resurrected several nostalgic trends, waistlines aren’t budging. & Other Stories, PrettyLittleThing and Mango all released low-waist styles. However, they only made up 1% of Q2 jeans arrivals vs. high-waist cuts, which dominated at 86%. 

Where nostalgia did hit the mark is within washes and detail - vintage blue treatments and knee rips were prevalent on top selling styles. This will remain an overarching theme in denim’s future, with acid washes appearing both on the Fall 2021 women’s runway and the recent men’s Spring 2022 shows. The latter also showcased comfort taking center stage, a signal for retailers to range more relaxed cuts for upcoming men’s products. 

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A penchant for preppy 

With its presence in pop culture, sports and on the runway, preppy emerged as one of Q2’s hottest fashion trends - and we have the data to back it up!

A staple within preppy dressing, polo shirts saw an 18% lift in investment as retailers assorted it for complimentary trends like golfcore and tenniscore. Compared to Q2 2020, investment in checks nearly tripled in skirts, blazers, and matching sets, priming retailers' assortment for consumers looking to recreate looks inspired by the Gossip Girl reboot. 

As the colder weather sets in, items reminiscent of the Dark Academia starter pack will keep this trend ticking. Collegiate style knitwear, classic turtlenecks, argyle and loafers, all of which appeared on the latest women’s runway circuit, have commercial appeal within mass assortments. 

If you haven’t ranged preppy for your fall buys - don’t panic! Versace’s pre-spring collections were packed with plaids and tweeds across blazers, mini skirts and dresses. Also, the men’s Spring 2022 shows confirmed it as a core trend for next year, with varsity bombers shown at Louis Vuitton and striped polos at Tod’s. 

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Image via Tods Spring 2022, Versace Pre-Spring 2022 & Louis Vuitton Spring 2022

With so much unknown, entering the next quarter can be daunting. That’s why the world’s savviest retailer’s back up their commercial decisions with EDITED Market Intelligence. Together, we’ve got this!

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