With summer officially over, outerwear styles such as the ever-popular puffer jacket are in high demand.
What’s new with fall’s favorite jacket? We provide insights into the puffer coat across color, price, silhouette and sustainability to help you ensure success next fall.
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1. The focus on neutrals
Retailers chose to move away from bolder hues this fall and switched to a softer palette. An already winning narrative across loungewear and basics for menswear, neutrals have also made an impact in men’s puffer coats, up 7% in offering YoY. In womenswear, neutral puffer coat arrivals are up 8% YoY with retailers like Aritzia offering a diagonally stitched design and Arket featuring a longline silhouette with side slits and a hood.
This color story will transcend post-coronavirus, feeding into the minimalistic aesthetic consumers crave, so be sure to buy into soft tans and greys for future assortments. Play with camo prints in neutrals for a fresh take on the traditional green pattern and to target a younger customer, market around adventurecore.
2. Consumers are willing to pay more
Puffers are selling out at a higher price point
A drastic rise in average sell out price YoY for womenswear is evident. This was not the case initially for menswear, but September 2020 tracked the highest recorded sell out average across both genders compared to 2019.
While puffer arrivals have declined YoY, replenishment rates are up as retailers offer fewer trends and focus on high-demand products. Neutrals proved successful throughout the year across a range of categories, resulting in both pricing and arrivals increasing for puffers. 22% have been restocked so far this fall, similar to black at 23%. Quilted styles are seeing similar traction on the market, along with packable options and luxe fabric effects like leather and suede. These are high ticket trends to take into next fall that can demand a higher price point.
The pricing sweet spot
Men’s offerings in the US and UK have seen the average arrival price point drop this fall compared to 2019, now at £77.22/$115.44 – a move that makes arrival prices align closer to the selling price. Keep an eye on your sell out averages before end of season sales kick in to see if pricing needs to be lowered further next fall.
Womenswear arrival pricing is aligned with the average price puffers have been selling out at this September, sitting at £74.93/$107.70. This is only a slight increase from last year, highlighting the changes in consumer spending. Keep pricing along the same trajectory for next year.
Styling will impact consumer spending
We’ve seen some clear changes in the way puffer jackets have been styled and promoted this season. H&M switched from a youthful streetwear story to showcase its men’s padded vests to an outdoorsy aesthetic, tapping into current hype around re-connecting with nature.
Reiss’ men’s padded bomber has transitioned from being paired with sporty, tailored looks to relaxed, luxe loungewear. Both J.Crew and Arket have changed up pushing their less expensive, women’s bold-hued puffers paired with loud accessories, to feature more expensive quilted pieces styled in tonal or heritage looks.
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3. Sustainability is now center stage
Sustainable clothing has made great strides in the last year. Basics and denim are where we expect to see investments, but recycled and eco puffers have grown a massive 761% in arrivals comparing this fall to 2019. Communications mirror this growth. Rather than highlighting lightweight and warm properties, popular last year, environmentally-friendly versions are front and center for FW20 – Uniqlo, COS, Gap and Topman all debuted eco options this year.
An uptick in the use of recycled materials for the filling is also of note instead of just featuring recycled polyester on the main body of the jacket. Uniqlo now offers 100% recycled down and feather for its filling, in addition to $10 of vouchers if you recycle your old Uniqlo down jacket in store. Initiatives like these will be vital in improving brand awareness and outlook moving into next year.
4. More investment for vests
Previously a wardrobe essential of the “finance bro” trope, the padded gilet is back in favor thanks to recent celebrities, including Dua Lipa, sporting the piece.
The market has responded to the shift in attitude, with a 66% increase in puffer vest arrivals YoY. BoohooMAN, who target a younger customer, contributed significantly to the rise in menswear, almost tripling its offering YoY – further backing to the piece shedding its “uncool” associations.
In womenswear, Zara advanced the puffer vest assortment, growing its longline SKUs and adding more reversible options this year.
Compared to last year, lighter-fills and a variety of stitching will be the way forward. Consider designing into reversible solid-to-pattern styles and removable or packable hoods in FW21 for versatility throughout the year.
Use this style to break into the genderless market, an area of growing importance. For inspiration, take note of the puffer vest from the Billie Eilish collaboration with Bershka below.
Contributions by Retail Analysts Avery Faigen and Tara Drury.
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