Only 50% of Fashion Firms are Investing in Digital Tools, According to Sourcing Journal and AlixPartners’ Latest Research

Sourcing Journal has released its second annual proprietary industry report in collaboration with global consulting firm AlixPartners.

Dubbed “Fashion in Focus 2022: New Norms and Paradigm Shifts,” the report’s findings identify the industry’s challenges and offers tools to prepare for inevitable continued disruption.

Divided into four categories – being digital-first, focused product assortment, productivity mindset and sustainability and social stewardship – the latest round proprietary data was collected via a survey administered to more than 400 top fashion industry executives along with in-depth interviews and input from the experts at Sourcing Journal and AlixPartners.

Among the findings, the team discovered that only 50% of brands and retailers are investing in digital tools to fortify their business against disruption.

Despite all the tech tools available to them, 60% of fashion firms are still using historical data and Excel spreadsheets to plan assortments, the report noted, with 41% of companies still not prioritizing digital tools to connect with consumers.

What’s more, 80% of companies surveyed have sustainability goals, but less than two in 10 (19%) are actually tracking and using carbon-footprint data.

“The findings in this report point to an industry slow to change, and while often with the best intentions, a disconnect remains between goals and tangible progress,” Edward Hertzman, CEO and founder of Sourcing Journal, said in a statement. “Our research illuminates the crossroads we find ourselves at today. Even with the tools at our fingertips to drive efficiency and accountability, the numbers suggest we have a long road ahead.”

Murali Gokki, managing director in the retail practice at AlixPartners, added that retail and brand executives are beginning to recognize that regardless of where the commercial transaction occurs, consumers have fully adopted a digital lifestyle.

“In this new paradigm, consumers hold all the cards in terms of what, where, and how they shop,” Gokki said. “Brand loyalty and shopping habits are changing quickly, increasing the need for stronger consumer engagement across all digital interactions.”

Gokki added that, simultaneously, “retailers feel a pullback in the economy in the next six months is likely, and less than half feel they are equipped to handle that pullback.”

The report findings were unveiled in person during a presentation by AlixPartners at the Sourcing Journal Fall Summit at Cipriani 42nd St. in New York in October. During the summit, leading industry experts shared their insights across all facets of the business, from shuffling logistic strategies, start-up struggles, and consumer insights.


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