Gartner for Marketers Research

Insight Report September 11, 2019

Specialty Retail US: Ripe for Disruption

As consumer preferences shift toward conscious transparency, traffic to Zara, Topshop and Forever 21’s sites dropped considerably. While these fast-fashion brands once exemplified the ability to respond quickly to consumer demands, a new class of disruptive brands has raised the bar for digital sophistication. While many have yet to become household names, site traffic to digital upstarts like Interior Define, Everlane and M.Gemi increased faster than the majority of traditional specialty retail brands in 2019.

This report examines the digital performance of disruptive brands across the apparel, shoes, home, and watches and jewelry categories and addresses the following questions: 

  1. Where do disruptors over-index? Across brand sites, Google search and social media, where does disruptor digital performance outpace that of traditional specialty retailers?
  2. Are disruptors more than just a distraction? Which disruptors have exhibited staying power, and why?
  3. There’s much to learn from disruptors, but certain tactics are less replicable. Where should you follow and where should you swerve?

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