Pillars of the ultra-fast fashion, Zara and H&M have been left behind with the arrival of the Chinese giant on the market. To differentiate themselves from their huge competitor – and continue to attract shoppers, both brands have made a strategic shift.
Focus on the Market Shares of the 3 Main Players in the Ultra-Fast Fashion Market in 2022
In France, Shein weighs 1/3 of the ultra-fast fashion market in value (33.8%). Zara weighs 36.4% and H&M 29.8%.
If figures seem balanced between the 3 giants of the industry, Shein is noticeably losing momentum: the brand lost 4.5pts in market shares in 2022 vs. 2021 – meanwhile, its two rivals are seeing an increase in market shares.
The trend is opposite in the UK and Spain. In Great Britain, Shein’s sales represent 40% of market shares. On the Spanish side, the Chinese group reaps more than half of the sales in value. In both countries, Shein’s market shares increased from 2021 to 2022, by 11.3pts in the UK and 7.5pts in Spain.
As for Zara and H&M, their market shares are receding. We can see that H&M is ranking 3rd in Spain, well behind its competitors, with a meagre 6.1% in market share – as a direct outcome of the health crisis, the brand closed down 30 stores in Spain in 2021 (out of 156 in the country).
Thus, Shein growth is accelerating in Spain and the UK, while the French are slowly disengaging from the brand.
Zara: A Move Upmarket
Zara’s positioning has evolved: with a bold price increase and partnerships with renowned haute couture players, the brand moves upmarket. The Spanish store chain has also revised its return policy. Customers are now charged for product returns that were originally free. For the brand, it’s a way to limit its environmental impact and motivate e-buyers to shop more consciously – and to move away from its ultra-fast fashion branding.
H&M: Second-hand, Repairs, Rentals and Recycling
H&M has chosen a different shift. On the programme:
- Drastically reducing its carbon footprint
- The acquisition and integration into its website of a second-hand platform
- Clothing recycling
- Clothing rental (only in a few major cities for now)
- H&M Take Care: the opening of their first store offering repair and maintenance service