Is The Animal Print Trend Facing Extinction?

Is The Animal Print Trend Facing Extinction?

It’s been the biggest trend of the year with media headlines such as “Why animal prints are prowling the high street” from the Guardian, “Leopard print fashion trend - style and outfit inspiration” by Harper’s Bazaar and “How to wear the four animal prints of Autumn 2018” featured in the London Evening Standard, but what does the future hold for this distinctive trend?

Animal print has long been a favourite of fashionistas (and of course stereotypical pub landladies, think Bet Lynch and Kat Slater) but this is the year it really went mainstream. The animal print trend is all over the high street 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 (even cow print…) and in every conceivable colourway - from the authentic natural colour palette to primary colours, neon and metallic.

But is it a look that’s here to stay or a passing fashion trend? By definition a trend is something that is popular at any given point in time therefore in order to capitalise on a fashion trend we need to understand its lifecycle as trends can go out of fashion just as quickly as they came in, leaving unprepared retailers with racks of unsold items.

In order to understand the animal print trend and its current lifecycle we here at Mallzee Insights did what we do best - we checked the data. The Mallzee Insights data bank is full of animal print items from hundreds of different brands and retailers and crucially it also includes hundreds of millions of real time customer opinions.

The graph below shows what percentage animal print products account for, in terms of clothes, shoes and accessories available on the UK high street between the end of 2016 and today.  As you can see there has been a dramatic increase in products available with the majority of retailers really ‘buying into’ the trend from the start of 2018.  The volume of animal products is at an all time high at the moment with over 5% of all products currently designed around this trend, it seems fair to say that Christmas 2018 looks set to be animal print-tastic!

But will that leopard print coat or mock croc skirt start to look dated by the time the calendar hits 2019?

The graph above illustrates how consumers have been ranking animal print products since 2016, using the Mallzee Performance Score (MPS) which is the percentage of total positive interactions on an item.  Their love of all things animal print really spiked during the first half of 2018 but has been dropping steadily since.  Comparing the two graphs above we can see that at the same time as consumers are liking animal print items less, retailers are bringing more to the market.  

Is this an indication that the animal print trend is over and at the end of its trend lifecycle?  Only time will tell but what it clearly highlights is the importance of constantly monitoring customer opinion on trends to align trend led stock ordering with the consumers shaping the lifecycle and longevity of the trend.
The graphs below split out the details for some of the most popular animal prints comparing the volume of products being brought to market over the same timeframe as the MPS (Mallzee Performance Score) highlighting any disparity between what retailers are offering and what consumers want.

Interestingly retailers have gotten it ‘spot on’ with mock croc as the products being brought to market line is almost exactly tracking the MPS line whereas I think we can expect to see a lot of Zebra print on the discount rails in the coming months as the consumer ranking (MPS) has dropped dramatically whereas the products being brought to market continues to rise.

Mallzee Insights provides pre-release product testing and actionable insights on product trends using real time consumer preference opinion and benchmark products against competitors and trends.

P.S. Which one are you….snake, zebra or leopard? Let us know if you think it’s true…. can a leopard change its spots? Is the animal trend over?

Catriona Rist


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