Posted by Thomas Andersson, March 7, 2017.
When looking at the UK fashion e-commerce landscape (excluding multi-channel retailers) it is interesting to note that the marketplace is divided by latitude as well as by consumer preferences.
The value fashion sector led by Boohoo.com is primarily based in North England around Manchester whereas the mid-market fashion sector is spread out in middle-England. All of the luxury and high-end fashion e-commerce companies are based in London.
More 'experimental' fashion e-commerce companies also tend to gravitate towards London, possibly due to its networking opportunities and existing start-up infrastructure.
What can be learned from this?
- Value fashion requires low-cost infrastructure to maintain its USP. Rents are cheaper outside of London. Furthermore, the leaders in this segment are all ex- or current suppliers to well known high street chains. As such they have access to large networks of staff and production resources.
- Mid-market fashion is spread throughout the country for a variety of historical reasons. Access to qualified staff is easier in London, but traditional catalogue retailers started in and around North England.
- Luxury fashion e-commerce companies all started and continue to be located in London. Perhaps as a result of London as the metropolis of luxury fashion and access to experienced staff might be one reason. However, since there is no physical requirement for a store there may also be an emotional attachment to London as a luxury hub.