Globalization is inevitable
In the 21st century, Globalization is inevitable and it affects all the industries, right from mcdonaldisation to the apparel industry and the fashion industry. Notably, technology and globalization go hand in hand hence shape what strategies of marketing or production will prevail in the industry. The UK fashion industry has grown magnificently since the early 1940s and by the day it closes in on strong competitive fashion industries like those in Italy, Paris and New York.
Unquestionably, the fashion industry world over grew from nothingness to what it is today shaped by the culture of the people, increased demand for uniqueness of attire and the portrayal of clothing as a product and the intensive marketing expertise. Today, this industry is a multibillion dollar industry contributing greatly to the GDP of countries like UK, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the rest. Owing to the immense success of the fashion industry and the attractive returns it has the fashion industry has been dominated by innovative and entrepreneurs implying fierce competition in the industry.
This paper takes a deeper look at competitive landscape of the fashion within the UK and how globalization and technology changes shape the fashion industry. Specifically in this discussion the role of technology in this industry will be discussed. Notably, the fashion industry touches on two markets that is the textile and the apparel markets. This is not a mean that it is solely a domain for the two markets because it also includes food, furniture, antiques and perfumes among others. Predominantly though, fashion will mean clothing, footwear and accessories hence this paper will be biased from that perspective.
Winter Metta provides great insight into technology in the fashion industry. Tony Hines and Margaret Bruce also provide insight into the contemporary issues in fashion marketing. These books will be used through out the preparation of this paper. Overview of the industry The UK fashion retail industry has changed considerably in the 21st centaury. This meant that the firms ventured overseas in order to tap into new markets, in reaction to globalization, need to reduce costs of production and transport of raw materials as well as forces of marketing. The UK apparel market is vibrant and in 2005, almost ?
50 billion was realized from it. (Cassis, 1999). While the industry of designing cloth lines is still good in the UK the dominant industry is mainly sourcing supplies and distribution. Imports account for the bulk of the products in this industry although they bear UK labels. This means that although manufacturing of textiles and apparels takes place overseas, the designing and marketing efforts are sourced from the UK. Also contribute significantly to the GDP. Despite the enormity and importance of the UK fashion industry it employs a marginal chunk of the workforce.
This is due to the availability of technology and that labor intensive jobs are done overseas. Nonetheless the demand for quality clothing for both leisure and work is high and especially among women. Pricing is also of the essence and serves to stratify consumers in relation to their socioeconomic status. The fashion retail industry is predominantly made up of large manufactures 75% although the small enterprises in are just as much. Industry analysis Bargaining power of consumers The bargaining power of the customers in the UK market is minimal although not quick to write off.
The consumers have formed co operative societies which they use to buy goods in bulk so that they influence reduction in prices. The consumers bargaining power is minimal because the fashion industry is a highly diverse one and there is lack of standardization. This makes it hard to substitute one company’s products or design for another because then it would mean compromising on quality. This is an advantage to the fashion industry. Bargaining power of suppliers Notably the fashion industry is nothing without the textile industry.
The UK fashion industry gets its high quality textile from countries like China, Cambodia SirLanka among other developing co untried. Companies like Marts and Spencer have monopolized almost the entire bottom produced in India in order to scare itself constant supply of cotton cloths and maternal which it uses to make its cloths. This is a strategy used to ensure competitive advantage to the company. Other firms in the appeal and textile market employ similar strategies for the same reason. Threat of new entrants The fashion industry in the UK as aforementioned is highly competitive not only from a local scale but even globally.
There are homegrown companies that have established their names in that industry. For example Next, Gap, Esprit, Marks and Spencer among others. This strong footholds in the industry means that new entrants have to struggle to get a niche in the industry as well as retain customer loyalty in its customer base. The large established companies in the industry impose difficulty in accessing raw materials, cracking the relationship between customers and existing industries, cracking into the distribution channels and high cost of establishing a profitable organization among other barriers.
More often than not this area will be monopolized or the suppliers and distributors are looked into contract with existing firms in the fashion industry. Competition from existing players Even where there is no threat of new entrants, the UK fashions market faces fierce competition among existing players. This has resulted to competitive pricing, highly innovative marketing strategies, differentiation of clothing and foot ware, increased use of sophisticated technology among others. In this industry mergers are common as a reaction to eliminate unnecessary fragmentation of the customer share hence reduce competition
Role of technology Competition is rife in the fashion retail industry and technology plays a very significant role in giving leverage to companies in this industry. For example the computer technology that generates 30 images of women (clothed & unclothed) help the companies to design outfits for the mass market in different sizes and with the perfect fit. (Winter, 2003) This moves away from the traditional way of designing clothes which usually was a problem because it entailed a lot of work and trial and error.
With the use of this technology, the fashion industry has been revolutionised. Other technologies that have shaped the fashion industry include the technology of recycled material or rather ‘green material’. This fabric is made of recycled materials which in effect reduces pollution and promotes sustainable use of natural resources. This new trend is fast catching on with the producers and consumers of the industry and nowadays it can be said that the modern consumer uses the buzz word ‘green/eco friendly’ to chose what is fashionable and what’s not.
This is all a function of technology Technology has facilitated transfer knowledge and ideas among players in the fashion industry and across the main centers of fashion expertise. Fashion involves immense creativity, innovation improvement of fashions or what is commonly known as recycling of fashions. (Braudo & Macintosh, 1999). This is facilitated by the efficient and accurate dissemination of knowledge on a real time basis through technology. Additionally, technology enhances the ability of apparel companies to mass produce.
As noted, global markets to cater to a larger market share and this would necessitate mass production. In order to cope with this high paced dynamic industry as well as the growing demand for decent clothing. A clear illustration of the effectiveness of technology in facilitating the mass production in the appeal industry is the case of Nike which has revolutionized its factories to employ labor reducing technology. (Aaronson & Housinger, 1999). This means that it is able to employ fewer workers and this means that it is able to employ technology which ensures standardization of quality and higher productivity.
Form the on set of producing a fashion line i. e. the idea designing, sewing quality assurance and distribution, technology becomes central (Redman, Chiappina & Clausen, 1994) and indeed an integral part to the success of the fashion industry. Technology cuts short the whole process inters of time, knowledge as a form of technology employs the just – in- time philosophy, total quality management, zero defects management and so on. (Chandler, Hagstrom & Solvell, 1999)
What’s more technology in the fashion industry makes use of specialized professionals in the area of developing new fabrics which have desirable features like comfort, durability and attractiveness which are the qualities that are most desired by consumers of the fashion world. Again the consumers of this industry need constantly be presented with fresh fashion and technology facilitates novelty in the industry through research and development technical textiles are in great demand as the illuminate uniqueness and high performance.
This is especially the case in the footwear industry and companies like Nike, Reebok adidas, Prada among others have to constantly invest in technology so as to deliver. The UK textile market has been particularly keen in this area hence a very vibrant market. Conclusion The UK fashion industry is indeed a vibrant one and globalization and technology plays a great role in contributing to its success. The industry is fast to adopting technology that will enable it to retain its buoyancy as well as to increase its market competitiveness.
Globalization facilitates the industry to take advantage of the low cost of manufacturing in developing countries and escape stringent trade restrictions in the UK. It seems that the fashion industry in the UK and the world over must brace itself for a future of growth as the economic power of the consumer is strengthened and also for more intense competition due to the ever advancing technology and the effects of global competition.
Aaronson, D. , & Housinger, K.(1999). The Impact of Technology on Displacement and Reemployment. Economic Perspectives, 23(2), 14. Retrieved November 5, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5001302241 Braudo, R. J. & Macintosh, J. G. (Eds. ). (1999). Competitive Industrial Development in the Age of Information: The Role of Cooperation in the Technology Sector. London: Routledge. Retrieved November 5, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=110139120Sample Essay of EduBirdie.com