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BUSINESS STATISTICS

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION


INDUSTRY

SUHANI KAPOOR (FMS)


Prof.
GULNAZ BANU

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

ABSTRACT
Statistical techniques have been used in the fashion industry,
production and quality management process and other industries for
over more than 25 years. To achieve and analyse the objective
decisions, statistical methods are used, based on data collected
about a product or market. There are a number of practical and
managerial issues related to the application of statistical techniques
in studies aimed at improving the brand performance. This report is
a summary of the application of statistical techniques on the several
aspects of fashion industry. The objective is to learn the scope of
statistical tools in analysing the pattern of sale, interrelationship
between data variables and defining a successful business strategy
in a very volatile industry like fashion industry.

INTRODUCTION
Throughout history, fashion has greatly influenced the fabric of
societies all over the world. What people wear often characterizes
who they are and what they do for a living. As Mark Twain once
wrote, Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no
influence on society. The fashion industry is a global industry,
where fashion designers, manufacturers, merchandisers, and
retailers from all over the world collaborate to design, manufacture,
and sell clothing, shoes, and accessories.
The industry is characterized by short product life cycles, erratic
consumer demand, an abundance of product variety, and complex
supply chains. Whats hot today is blas tomorrow. Innovation
becomes retro. Seasons change. Hemlines rise and fall and so do
your sales figures. A celebrity makes a fashion statement on the red
carpet and suddenly your financial statements are covered in red.
Therefore launching a new fashion brand or streamlining a
production process or evaluating current vs. prospective customers,
todays business managers face greater complexities than ever

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

before. Running a shop on instinct no longer suffices. Statistics


provide managers with more confidence in dealing with uncertainty
in spite of the flood of available data, enabling managers to more
quickly make smarter decisions and provide more stable leadership
to staff relying on them.

STATISTICS IN FASHION INDUSTRY AND MANAGEMENT


MARKET RESEARCH
We are creatures of habit, especially when it comes to buying
behaviour. We know the location of our favourite fashion brands in
our vicinity, and we trust that they'll serve us year after year. People
don't like change. It's a battle to get someone to switch to an
unknown brand. Market research analysts devise methods and
procedures for obtaining the data they need by designing surveys to
assess consumer preferences. Market research is also helpful to
develop advertising brochures and commercials, sales plans, and
product promotions such as rebates and giveaways based on their
knowledge of the consumer being targeted. The information also
may be used to determine whether the company should add
new lines of merchandise, open new branches, or otherwise
diversify the company's operations (George Heinrich, 2006). For
example Full price sales of luxury goods are dramatically down yearon-year, according to data collected by real-time analytics firm
Edited in the wake of the UK's shocking Brexit vote. Noting this there
is dramatic downfall in the market.
Market research analysis is a procedure to design survey and to
assess consumer performance (Robert P. Hamlin, 2000). Different
methods and procedures are used to organize survey and to assess
consumer performance. Data is collected through different channels
such as Primary data and Secondary Data. It may be through
primary data collection technique, which is conducted through the
Internet and telephone, focus group discussions, mail responses, or
setting up booths in public places, such as shopping malls.
Trained interviewers usually conduct the surveys under a market

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

research analyst's direction. Use of secondary data is another


statistical technique which is used in this research design.
Following are widely statistical techniques for collection of
data relating to market research and evaluating customer
satisfaction in fashion industry.
Online Questionnaire and Survey
SurveyMonkey is a powerful tool for creating in-depth
surveys that will help you understand the market and
consumer preferences.

Scaling Technique
A common feature of marketing research is the attempt to
have respondents communicate their feelings, attitudes,
opinions, and evaluations in some measurable form. To this
end, marketing researchers have developed a range of scales.
Each of these has unique properties. This technique allows
companies to learn more about past, current and potential
customers, including their specific likes and dislikes (Miriam
Catterall, 1998). The following are the types of scales used
generally.
Dichotomous scales have two choices that are diametrically
opposed to each other. Some examples would be:
Yes or No
True or False
Fair or Unfair
Agree or Disagree
Rating scales are probably what were most familiar with.
On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with our service
today?
The three most common rating scales are:
1-10 scale
1-7 scale

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

Likert scale (1-5)


The image (1.1) below is an example of 1-7 rating scale
conducted on beachwear products.

Image 1.1
Semantic differential scales are used to gather data and
interpret based on the connotative meaning of the
respondents answer. These two usually have dichotomous
words at either end of the spectrum. They generally measure
more specific attitudinal responses, such as the following
image (1.2)

Image 1.2

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

Census Data
This tool helps fashion start-ups to understand an area's
demographic information and lifestyle habits. One can find out
which areas would be most receptive to a campaign or launch,
which competitors are located nearby, and trends in the area
that have shifted. Following image (1.3) is date collected from
the U.S census.

Source: US Census
Following are widely statistical techniques for analysis of
data relating to market research and evaluating customer
satisfaction in fashion industry.
Data Analysis Technique
(Histogram in Excel)

1:

Frequency

Distribution

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

Frequency distribution is a simple data analysis technique


which allows you to get a big picture of the data. From
frequency distribution, fashion analysts can see how frequently
the specific values are observed and what their percentages
are for the same variable. For example: for variable of age,
they can use frequency distribution to figure out how many
people in the survey are aged 18 to 25, and how many are
aged 26 to 33, etc.
Data Analysis Technique 2: Descriptive Statistics
From the frequency distribution fashion analysts can figure out
the frequency of the values observed, as shown in the age
example above. They use the measures of central
tendency and dispersion to learn more about the data for
age.
Mean, median and mode are the three measures of central
tendency.
The Arithmetic Mean, more commonly known as the
average, is the sum of a list of numbers divided by the
number of items on the list. The mean is useful in determining
the overall trend of a data set or providing a rapid snapshot of
the data.
Median is the value in the middle when all the values are
lined in order (assuming there is an odd number of values). If
there are even numbers of values, the median is the average
of the two numbers in the middle. It is useful when the data set
has an outlier and values distribute very unevenly.
Mode is the value which is observed most often. It is useful
when the data is non-numeric or when asked to find the most
popular item.
Range and standard deviation are the basics measures of
dispersion. The bigger the range and bigger the standard
deviation, the more dispersed the values are.
Range is the difference of the maximum value and the
minimum value for the variable. For the age example, the
maximum value is 54 and the minimum value is 19. So the
range is 35.

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

Standard deviation shows how much variation the value


exits from the mean. Variance is the average of squared
difference from the mean. Standard deviation is the square
root of variance.

Data Analysis Technique 3: Correlations


Correlations are used when a brand wants to know about the
relationship between two variables. For example, you want to
know consumers willingness to pay and their ratings for the
product quality. If the correlation is 1, meaning the willingness
to pay and the ratings for the product quality are completely
positively correlated and if the correlation is 0, meaning there
is no correlation between these two variables. If the correlation
is -1, it shows they are completely negatively correlated,
meaning the higher one variable, the lower the other variable.

FASHION PRODUCTION & QUALITY CONTROL


Manufacturers rely on statistics and data reports to assess
production and quality and is therefore an efficient means to
evaluate a manufactured product. Statistical quality control
helps maintain the consistency of how a product is made. Statistical
quality control methods can include cause-and-effect analysis,
check/tally sheets, histograms, Pareto and scatter analyses,
data stratification, defect maps, events logs, progress
centres and randomization. Graphical charts and graphs, the
part of statistical process control that monitors the manufacturing
process, help decipher the statistics and data from quality control
reports.
One important method of statistical quality control is acceptance
sampling. In acceptance sampling, a sample of a product is
randomly taken to determine whether or not to continue making the
product. If the percentage of "good" or acceptable product is higher
than "bad" or defective product in the sample, the product is
approved and manufacturing continues. If not, the product is

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

rejected and production stops. Any evaluation process that involves


samples and human judgement usually assumes a margin of error.
With statistical quality control, human error is reduced.
FASHION RETAILING
Fashion retailing has always been a tough, highly competitive
business, and many chains rise dramatically and then fail as price
pressure from major discounters like Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's
keep profit margins thin at stores that sell moderately priced
apparel. The global apparel market is always changing, attempting
to adapt to customer trends and new technology that will allow the
consumers shopping experience to be more enjoyable and
ergonomic.
Sales forecasting is crucial for many retail operations. It is
especially critical for the fashion retailing service industry in which
product demand is very volatile and products life cycle is short. In
fact, a lot of statistical methods have been used for sales
forecasting, which include linear regression, moving average,
weighted average. Most of the existing forecasting models are
suitable for middle-term and long-term forecasting. However, shortterm forecasting, including the very short term forecasting such as
real-time forecasting, is not yet fully explored. This kind of shortterm forecasting is very important given the nature of the fashion
industry (the fashion trend is unpredictable, and the lead time is
very short). Since the fashion industry has changed and fast fashion
companies like ZARA, H&M, and Mango are adopting quick response
strategy with a very short lead time (e.g., 2 weeks in Zara for some
products).
ORIGIN OF THE CLOTHING SIZES
At one time or another, most of us have found ourselves in a
changing room, tugging at ill-fitting jeans or frowning at a snug top.
We blame ourselves, our shape, and our genetics. But these
accusations may be mislaid. After all, very few of us are a perfect fit

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

for ready-to-wear sizing, and even if we find one brand that works
for us, that rarely translates to other brands or stores.
At least sewing patterns allow us to customize sizing to create a
perfect fit. But where did our sizing system even come from, and
whose proportions are they based on?
Before mass production clothing there was made-to-measure, where
garments were tailored to specifically fit each customer. Womens
clothing, in particular, always required a precise fit and plenty of
detail. After World War I, things began to shift. Money was tight and
women wanted access to affordable, on trend fashion, regardless of
their class.
Manufacturers were keen to adapt to this changing market, but
sizing was a major problem. In 1939, the US Department of
Agriculture (USDA) launched a yearlong study titled Womens
Measurements for Garment and Pattern Construction. Working with
the Bureau of Home Economics under a federal project grant, they
studied the weight and 58 body measurements of 14,698 women
across seven states in the US. They even went so far as to measure
elbow girth and ankle height; they were thorough, to say the least.
Once the final data was collated, statisticians analysed the
results and decided that just five measurements were
enough to determine the size and shape of a woman:
weight, height, bust girth, waist girth, and hip girth.

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

CONCLUSION
Statistical techniques are widely used in the fashion industry. Its a
well known fact that using the obtained statistics about certain
parameters, future business strategies can be decided. By gathering
specific information about product and sale via marketing research
and statistical analysis, knowledge of the best marketing,
manufacturing and retailing practices can be applied to provide
ideas that are both based on the feedback of customers and proven
to work by the experience.

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.

REFERENCES
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.pdf
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Jami Oetting,2016, 17 Tools & Resources for Conducting Market Research.
www.businessoffashion.com
FAO Corporate Document Repository, Chapter 3 Level of measurement and
scaling.
Alex Birkett, Survey Design 101 Choosing Survey Response Scales.

Jiafeng Li, April 2013, Market Research


www.reference.com

SCOPE OF STATISTICS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A BRIEF REPORT


Suhani Kapoor
National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, India.
Plunkett Research Ltd, Apparel, Textiles, Clothing & Fashions Industry
Market Research
Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Sales Forecasting for Fashion Retailing
Service Industry: A Review.
Seamwork Magazine, The origins of clothing sizes.