Fast fashion may be getting a bad press on sustainability grounds, but it’s still big news for influencers, although sustainability is figuring in their posts more often, a new international study has shown.
Influencer marketing platform Traackr released a report on Wednesday after analyzing influencer marketing strategies of 123 fashion brands in the UK, the US, and France.
It found that sustainable fashion is at an all-time high in terms of the number of mentions, but fast fashion brands remain the big draw for influencers and their audiences.
Despite that, mentions of sustainable fashion among influencers increased by 55% year-on-year in 2019, while mentions of second-hand fashion rose 137%.
And as well as the higher number of mentions for sustainable fashion, the overall number of sustainable fashion posts was up 150% while those for secondhand fashion rose 106%.
Influencer fashion choices are evolving in other ways as well with activewear brands Nike and Adidas, for instance, joining fast fashion names Asos, Zara, and Topshop as the top five fashion brands in the UK.
The State of Influence Fashion report looked at the activity around the brands in 2019 and assigned each one a ranking based on its Brand Vitality Score (or VIT, as Traackr calls it). This metric measures the visibility, impact, and trust of a social media post.
And it found fast fashion was as big as ever with UK influencers, and European fast fashion brands, in particular, were thriving. Among UK influencers, Asos ranked first in VIT.
Asos, Zara, H&M, and Topshop also “activated roughly 4,300 more influencers last year than the average contemporary or luxury fashion brand in the UK,” the report said.
“Sustainability is a hot topic, which is increasingly reflected in influencer activity. Despite this, fast fashion continues to be a powerhouse in Europe, with European brands taking the top spots in terms of activated influencers in the region,” Traackr CEO Pierre-Loic Assayag said.
As mentioned, the rise of the two dominant activewear brands was notable. Nike and Adidas took the top two spots in the activewear category in all three countries, although it's interesting that they didn't have the field to themselves, particularly in Europe. “While Nike and Adidas do the best job at running an efficient program in the US, the brands are outperformed by Under Armour in the UK and France when it comes to influencer loyalty (repeat posts) and content performance (on an individual mention basis),” the study said.
The study also found that the category of ‘contemporary’ brands, priced just above the affordable fast fashion category, struggled to perform in all three markets. But mid-tier influencers (those with more than 50,000 followers) were able to generate success for some of these brands in the UK and France.
One brand performing particularly well in the UK was & Other Stories that ranked highest in VIT within the contemporary category. It earned a third of its VIT from mid-tier influencers, which was 14% higher than the category average within the UK.
And it’s interesting to see how brands work with influencers when it comes to luxury fashion. Luxe brands in the UK, US, and France actually work with very few VIP influencers (those with more than 5 million followers). Yet despite this, those that they do work with can make a big impact. In the UK, for instance, VIP influencers provided a third of the VIT for luxury brands. Meanwhile, the next two tiers of influencers down (the ‘top’ ones with over a million followers and ‘macro’ influencers with half-a-million+) represented another third of VIT generated in this category across the countries.
And mid-tier influencers were hugely important in France for luxury labels, their content being the highest-performing content online. Some 28% of the highest performing content came from them and Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci were among the most successful brands in partnering with them.