EVENTS TO WATCH
CHINA vs. US: Footwear & Apparel e-Commerce Breakdown
This is a topic we've hit pretty hard over the past few months in our recent Black Books looking at the space. We did our own consumer survey on the topic, and while our results were in line with the info pertaining to the United States, here is an interesting look at the differences in demographic spending patterns in the US and China on footwear and apparel. For context, the online US footwear and apparel business was a $37bil industry in 2013 (10% penetration) and China grew at a 178% CAGR over the past 5 years to $33bil (11% penetration). A few of our takeaways...
- Income - The Chinese market is dominated by the top tier of the demographic group due in part to the simple fact that there is a divide in internet access between income groups. The US on the other hand is much more consistent. Though the bulk of the volume and $$$ can be attributed to the upper tiers of the income skew in the US -- shoppers across the spectrum have adopted the internet as an option, though not with the same frequency as the Chinese.
- Age - Here the two nations' skew across age demographics is the inverse of the income charts we hit on earlier. The Chinese consumer has more or less accepted the internet as a channel across age groups with a slight bias towards the younger generation. But, in the US there is a serious discrepancy between the 15-24 age bracket and the rest of the population. That's the demo we called out in our FL Black Book in January as the group that really matters in the e-comm discussion as it accounts for nearly all of the volatility. As the younger generation moves online we think that accrues to the brands not the retailers…a negative event especially for HIBB and FL.
- Women - Our comment here is focused specifically on the US market where 25% of men say they never shop for Apparel and Footwear online compared to just 15% of women. That's a big deal in the athletic industry where NKE, UA, FL, etc. are making a big push to build their respective Women's businesses. As with Footwear, we think that the upside accrues directly to NKE and UA rather than FL which has tried and failed for years to right the Lady Foot Locker ship.
TSCO - Tesco tells suppliers to cut prices as commodities slump
Takeaway: When this flashed across our radar this morning it smelled a lot like TGT-Canada's plea for concessions from its suppliers in late July. While it's not unusual for a retailer to ask for vendor support, this, like the TGT ask, looks to be coming from a position of weakness rather than strength.
TGT - Target sale fail? Disappointed shoppers can expect deeper discounts ahead
Takeaway: This is where the Canada closure starts to get tricky. The US parent has severed ties with the red headed step child in the Great White North, but how will the company's relationships in the US be affected because of this? After years of promises from TGT and doubtless concessions by the suppliers we've got to believe that things are a little bit testy. It's no wonder that TGT Canada is treading lightly on thin ice when it comes to its liquidation sales. This is just one example, but telling of TGT's precarious spot. iPad's are discounted just 5% - if that goes higher we could see AAPL take it out on the US business when it plans its next round of allocations.
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WBA - Walgreens introducing new beauty brand
BWS - Ex-Victoria's Secret CEO joins Brown Shoe board
WFM - Whole Foods, Instacart partner on same-day floral delivery
Guggenheim and Affiliates Invest $135M in BCBG
SPLS - Staples launches new omnichannel small business campaign Feb. 8