Fashion Brands & Publishers in 2019

August 22, 2019

Written by Katherine K. Ellis
Fashion Brands & Publishers in 2019 blog header

Fashion is a global industry expected to exceed $1.5 trillion in value by 2020. As a widely reported space with entire publications dedicated to coverage, we created an entire report dedicated to tracking fashion publisher and brand trends in 2019, and rounded up some insights here.

We began this report with engagements to magazine coverage because we wanted to see how “traditional publishers” of fashion content, as we define them, tend to talk about and cover the space. Of the top women’s interest magazines that focus primarily on fashion coverage, Elle came out on top for its engagements to web content from the first of this year until now. Its web coverage generated over 13 million engagements, and Cosmopolitan came in a close second with 11 million. Essence broke the top three with 8 million, and after that, engagement to web content begins to fall steadily. It’s worth noting that with the exception of Glamour, these publishers still print a monthly magazine in addition to their digital coverage of the fashion industry.

An assumption we held prior to researching this report was that “breakout publishers” (or those that cover fashion but do so entirely digitally with no monthly printed assets) would have a significant edge in engagements to web content. But the comparative total engagements for magazine publishers and breakout publishers tells a different story. With all ten magazine publishers’ engagements to websites totaling 51,502,904 million engagements YTD and breakout publishers’ engagements totaling 59,774,251 million, the latter pulls ahead by a smaller margin than we expected. However, when we drill down into the websites respectively, Popsugar’s individual engagement YTD blows its magazine counterpart, Elle, out of the water. With its 25 million engagements since January, it’s miles ahead of anyone even in its own category. It’s not just because it constantly pumps out content either, it put out the same amount of articles as Refinery29 this year, and actually 5,000 articles fewer than Bustle, the second most engaged site in this category.

In order to see how brands control their story in such a crowded market, we looked up the top 50 global brands for 2019 and based on this report, chose to focus on the top ten leading brands’ coverage. At a glance, nothing comes close to Nike’s earned coverage for the past year, though much of it covered the heated debate surrounding its decision to pull the Betsey Ross shoe around July 4th.

Top 10 Global Brands Engagements to Earned Media

We broke out coverage into two categories for the report: how much engagement did negative stories get vs. positive? While the positive stories were able to break through some of the noise and get respectable engagement, the negative stories reached much higher numbers and are responsible for driving quite a bit of attention on social.

Brand Earned Engagement: Positive Coverage

While 300k engagements is nothing to scoff at, Nike took 10 out of the top 15 spots for most engaged negative coverage, and the most engaged story had over 800k engagements across social. Despite the negative coverage and constantly being pulled into the political news cycle, Nike remains the number 1 global brand, and sales haven’t plummeted in the wake.

Here are some other key takeaways we learned from our deep dive into Fashion Coverage in 2019:

  • Traditional magazines are getting higher engagement on their social channels, than their websites
  • Top web stories for both types of publishers actually had nothing to do with fashion
  • Instagram is still the place where people engage most with fashion content
    In the face of critical coverage, brands have the opportunity to control their story on their own channels
  • Emerging trends in fashion tend to begin on Instagram now, moving to breakout publishers and then occasionally picked up by magazine publishers
  • Finally, some of the latest trends in the beauty industry (animal-cruelty free, inclusivity, VR) have made their way into the fashion space

To read the rest of the report and view all of the insights, download here.

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