The Spanish fashion industry is in one of its best moments in the international market. In the end of 90’s, brands such as Zara, mango or Camper start the adventure of making their designs more known beyond Spanish borders. Nowadays, they have achieved their goal with success.
The Spanish fashion industry and the market
Inditex and Mango are among the six biggest textile groups in the world, with more than 9.000 shops all around the globe. This puts Spain as the country with two representatives in the G-6 of fashion (El Mundo, 2015). Moreover, during the last years a lot of small and medium firms (SMEs) have also jumped into the international arena. These firms have known how to turn the threat of the Spanish economic crisis in the opportunity of exploring new markets.
Estimations from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Turism say that more than half of Spanish SMES in the textile sector are exporting, specifically 4.120 firms (Minetur, 2014). In average, the 30% of the production is destined to international sales; and for some of them, this figure almost reach the 100% (see graph, 1).
This increase of the international activity has had positive consequences in employment -a historic increase of 4.778 jobs in 2014- and in other related industries –for example, in the shoe sector, the index of industrial production grew 3.1% in 2014, when it had decreased 2.9% in 2013. Firms in this textile industry have been able to raise the prices 1.8% in their exports in 2014, after dropping 0.6% in the previous year.
In sum, 12.000 euros was the amount that Spanish firms turned over with these products abroad, more than 8% compared to 2013.
Which are the reasons why more and more Spanish firms are increasing their presence and relevance in the international market? In the next session, we review some of them considering the 4 P’s of Marketing (Product, Prices, Promotion and Placement)
Keys for success in the international market
Products with design and quality
The key factor in fashion is the product development. It can be said that Spain is the first nation, with France and Italy in creativity and design. This is what Daniel Galván, expert of GBS Finance, says. Spanish firms feel that fashion is more than the design of a cloth, it is a way of living and feeling that goes beyond a fashion show. That makes that world surrenders to Balenciaga or Delpozo’s designs, the Monica Vinader’s jewelry, the Maya Hansen’s corsets, Mihara’s shoes or Jesús Peiro’s wedding dresses.
Other factor that explains the success of Spanish firms has been the competitive prices that offer. Zara and Mango were the pioneers in having a business model that combines creativity, quality and low prices. In the last years, many of the SMEs have also chosen an “affordable luxury” in their business models. As an example, the possibility that Suarez, the luxury jewelry firm, offers with its brand Aristocracy: lower prices that the rest of the products of the first brand. In a similar way, Jesus Peiró offers the possibility of buying wedding dresses on request around 2.500 euros, far from the 15.000 euros that costs a similar wedding dress under an haute couture design.
Promotion in fairs and social media
¿How these clothes and jewelries Made in Spain have reached the hands or bodies of Kate Middleton, Claudia Schiffer, Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie or Lady Gaga? Some Spanish firms have travelled from fair to fair all around the world in order to make networks and make know their products. Going to fairs in the fashion industry is vital because it allows discover new trends, opinions from experts and future clients, and identify future partners to those countries where distribute their products.
However, in many cases, the lack of budget has provoked that SMEs prefer going to the Internet directly and offer their products there. Social networks impose fashion and are good allies for promoting products. In 2011, Burberry, the british firm, increased its income in 29%, achieving 1.93 € millions, thanks to the digital campaign based on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is becoming a very important tool to generate attention on fashion events. For instance, in the last edition of the New York Fashion Week there were registered 1,2 millions of tweets with the hashtag #NYFW. It is not strange then, that in January Twitter Spain launched #twitterfashionweek a week before the Madrid Mercedes Benz Fashion Week started. The main goal was to promote the interaction between users and the 25 Spanish designers such as David Delfin, Roberto Verino and Adolfo Dominguez.
Sales Point using collaboration
Opening shops in the best streets of the world is a reality for some new Spanish firms. Pretty Ballerinas, Monica Vinader o Maya Hansen are some examples. However, this distribution mode is costly and not all companies can afford it. Then, more and more national firms opt for collaborating to go abroad. Some of the preferred options are entering in the international markets with agents, distributors, master franchisors and corners in department stores such as Harrods.