- Product description
Usually called fashion accessories, this sub-sector of apparel includes products that are generally worn with – or as a supplement to – clothing items. Accessory products can have a functional character, such as hats or gloves that provide warmth, but they may also include items that are mostly aesthetic such as scarves of thin material.
In this study, fashion accessories are defined as gloves, mittens, mitts, neckwear, carrying products such as bags, and other accessories such as handkerchiefs, belts, hats and caps.
- Which trends offer opportunities for fashion accessories targeting consumers?
A neglected segment with much potential
Fashion accessories do not get a lot of attention in terms of business, because they represent only a small percentage of total apparel turnover. Very few buyers are specialised in buying accessories. The same goes for designers. Most accessories are purchased by buyers handling larger garment collections.
Fashion accessories have continued strong growth in Europe, even during the economic slump in 2008 and the years thereafter. As cautious optimism about the economic outlook returns, you can expect this market to thrive.
The general neglect of this segment means that fashion accessories offer a lot of potential for you as a supplier. Especially if you specialise in accessories, you can quickly gain a distinctive market position.
- What competition do fashion accessories face in Europe?
Market entry competition is high
A high degree of product diversification means that there are very low barriers to enter the European fashion accessories market. A downside of this is that brand establishment and customer loyalty are very difficult to create. Only very few strong brand names have established brand recognition.
- Through which channels can you get your fashion accessories on the European market?
European fashion and fashion accessories companies – both large and small – tend to focus on design, branding, marketing and distribution, with little or no in-house production left. This situation means that they rely on – mostly non-European – suppliers for production.
As an exporter of fashion accessories, you can work directly with retailers. Note that if you are a new entrant, they can be difficult to access.
Selling your products through importers, either wholesalers or manufacturers, is also an option. It does mean lower margins, as they typically retain a markup of 1.4 to 1.7. This means that if you sell the original item to an importer for € 50, he will resell it at € 85 and it will end up in the shop at € 255.
Working with agents in Europe is also possible. Agents mediate between exporters and importers, distributors or wholesalers. An agent’s fee should not exceed 10%.
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