Animal print - now a ‘mane’ stream trend?

Animal print is huge, but will it last? And which prints are a sure thing?

Animal print - now a ‘mane’ stream trend?

Animal print has long been a favourite of fashionistas (and of course stereotypical pub landladies, such as Bet Lynch and Kat Slater) but in the last few years it has mounted a full high street takeover.  The animal print trend is everywhere and there’s now a print for everyone whatever their age or fashion style. Prints ranging from the classic leopard print, tiger stripes, mock croc, snake to zebra stripes and even cow print and in every conceivable colourway - from the authentic natural colour palettes to primary colours, neon and metallic.

Which animal (print) is king - in each category?

But how do you know you are investing in the right print for the right category of product? Here at Mallzee Insights we have taken a deep dive into the data for three of the most popular animal prints across four of the largest product categories to highlight which prints are ascending and which are heading for extinction.

The graphs below show the popularity of three of the biggest animal print trends this year (top graph) and last year (bottom graph) across the four key categories. Popularity is measured using the Mallzee Performance Score (MPS), a robust classification based on customer interactions with products across Mallzee shopping apps.


Looking at these three prints - leopard, snake and zebra there are some standout trends;


Animal print dresses are generally performing better now than in 2018 although there isn’t much between the three prints in terms of popularity. Whilst performing better than last year, dresses are the least popular category for animal patterns which could be explained by the huge volume of animal print dresses flooding the market and taking the category to saturation point.

Zebra print

Zebra print is the most polarising and currently presents retailers with both the biggest opportunity and threat in terms of getting their product selection right - zebra print hasn’t translated well into skirts which have the highest likelihood of ending up on the sales rail whereas zebra print footwear is trending and would be the animal print footwear option to back right now.

Leopard and snake print

The animal trend has definitely become increasingly ‘mane’ stream in 2019 as it shakes its pub landlady image - both leopard and snake print have enjoyed higher scores (popularity) this year compared to last.


The graph below allows us highlight how these trends correlate with the animal print products currently in the market. It shows the percentage increase for leopard and snake prints across the four categories from 2018 to 2019. Zebra has had to be stripped out as the percentage increases are so extreme; Zebra % increase; Dresses+500%, tops +180%, skirts +117%, footwear -41%)

Percentage change in volume of animal print items from 2018 to 2019

Zebra stats - Dresses+500%, tops +180%, skirts +117%, footwear -41%

How well have retailers done this season in matching the animal print products brought to market in each category with customers interest in them?

The huge increase in the volume of animal print dresses brought to market over the last year could end up being a costly mistake across the industry as it looks like animal print dress popularity is plateauing.

There will undoubtedly be retailers kicking themselves that they didn’t stock up on zebra print footwear this year - as the volume of zebra footwear products on the market has dropped 41% this year whereas their popularity is increasing!

It doesn’t look like the animal print trend is facing extinction anytime soon but as each print moves through its trend lifecycle it's becoming harder to ‘hunt’ out the next winners.

Many brands are now turning to Mallzee Insights to help them hunt out the next trends through our product testing solution, Product Future which allows them to generate future facing insights on new products before stock decisions are taken.

Like this blog? Check out our insights on neon and denim


Anisha Loomba

Want to understand how Product Future by Mallzee Insights can improve your margins?

Let’s schedule a time for a friendly walkthrough with one of our retail experts.

Sign up to The Drop

Get ahead of the fashion crowd! The Drop is a weekly email packed with expert analysis, a deep dive into data and unique insights from millions of customer opinions.