The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Hollister Abercrombie and Fitch Ecommerce

What happens to millennial fashion brands win when they try to shift a generation?

By James Hammersley, founding partner

July 16, 2017 | 5 min read

UK retail sales have posted their biggest quarterly fall in seven years during the first three months of 2017. However, this hardly affected Superdry, the millennial fashion brand which has had a stellar year, posting revenues of £161.1m in the 10 weeks to 7 January 2017, up 20.6% year on year, and unveiling its largest ever store in Berlin.


Unlike many other millennial brands, Superdry has broken out of its core market and been embraced by generation Y shoppers looking for fashionable apparel that suits their lifestyle.

In this week’s infographic, The Drum’s Mystery Shopper compares the performance of three of the country’s top millennial fashion brands against that of Superdry to see the impact of this generation leap.


Insight: Revenue comes from traffic that converts. Having more traffic than your competitors is a real advantage.

Analysis: Superdry is way out in front with preppy brand Jack Wills and the edgier Hollister fighting it out for second place. Former preppy star Abercrombie & Fitch seem to have lost its way in this market. The significant traffic advantage experienced by Superdry will give it a solid base on which it can build a successful online sales execution.

Paid campaign

Insight: If you are confident about your sales execution (ie customers stick on your pages and convert well) then you don’t have to outbid your competitors to gain a top three ad slot, which is where you will attract exponentially more traffic than position four or below.

Analysis: Superdry is dominating on its top 100 AdWords, and also driving over 1.5 times the amount of AdWord traffic compared to Hollister. This is not surprising as it is investing significantly more in keywords. Whereas, Hollister’s performance is impressive considering it is generating a high level of paid traffic on just over half the number of keywords as Superdry. Abercrombie & Fitch is the poor performer: it has invested into more keywords than Hollister, yet has less AdWord traffic and a lower average Ad position. This suggests that it has not fully understood what the market is looking for.

Landing pages

Insight: Landing pages are a mark of how well you understand the different customer needs that you are fulfilling. More pages and more thought is being put into the marketing proposition and the following sales execution.

Analysis: Jack Wills is leading the way when it comes to the number of unique landing pages for its top 100 AdWords with just over 50 having a designated page. Abercrombie & Fitch follows closely behind with 46 landing pages. It offers 33% more segmentation than Superdry. By differentiating and segmenting its target market, Jack Wills will be taking its users to where they want to be in as few steps as possible and will be driving higher sales and revenue as a result.


Insight: Listening to your customers is vital: without understanding the needs and wants of a potential buyer it is near impossible to improve conversion.

Analysis: Only Abercrombie & Fitch has a full digital toolbox. Superdry, Hollister and Jack Wills are all missing out on voice of customer tools. Despite Abercrombie & Fitch having voice of customer tools, it is not actively surveying its customers and is the worst performer in this competitive set. Only by blending data from a range of sources, with the customer at the centre, can you build and implement a successful split-testing programme that drives growth.

What can you tell from this?

• The obvious conclusion: Superdry is the superbrand in this competitive set and by some distance. It could consolidate its position if it chose to survey its customers on its website to find out why people don’t buy.

• The inevitable conclusion: Abercrombie & Fitch is struggling to bring a full toolbox to bear. This may be symptomatic of a bigger problem with its proposition or simply that its target market is not being engaged effectively.

• The surprising conclusion: Jack Wills, although able to break into generation Y, especially in womenswear, is not turning its brand ubiquity into an advantage over the much more focused propositions from the US. It is letting Superdry hold a significant advantage.

• The insight: These are four well-established brands, yet their ability to attract and engage customers online is highly variable. All are well placed on many of the UK’s high streets and two, Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch, have carved out highly distinctive positioning and the marketing to support it. Both have very different impacts: one is clearly struggling. Superdry is getting more things right online than the others – if it thought about engaging customers who visit its online store, it may be able to consolidate this advantage even further.

Hollister Abercrombie and Fitch Ecommerce

More from Hollister

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +