Farfetch's strategy

Behind the leading luxury marketplace's success 

Key takeaways

  • Farfetch takes the lead within the luxury marketplace sector
  • The luxury platform has the largest array of brands, appealing to a wider group of consumers
  • Farfetch leads with its gender mix, having the largest assortment share of menswear
Retviews Blog Farfetch Strategy Luxury Fashion Womenswear Image

A sector once dominated by one website has expanded, and the digital luxury marketplace sector is led by Farfetch today, the UK based platform that has become the one to beat. Farfetch leads the pack, with a gross merchandise value of over $1 billion in the second quarter of 2021, 40% higher than in 2020, during the same time period and more than double the 2019 value. 

The luxury platform experienced its biggest boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, as luxury retail suffered less than other retail sectors. Where competitors struggled to keep up with the consequences of the pandemic, Farfetch came out on top and as the online marketplace’s e-concession model  implies that it does not hold inventory, it remains operational despite lockdowns, and allows brands to directly sell through the Farfetch platform and retain control of product selection and pricing. Farfetch is thriving and increasingly so through its deal with Chinese giant, Alibaba Group and Swiss luxury group Richemont, bolstering the online marketplace into the Chinese market through “Farfetch China”, as well as its pre-owned assortment, falling in line with the prominence of the resale market.

Let’s dive deeper into Farfetch's strategy to find out how the platform rises above the competition.

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Men vs. women in luxury

Although womenswear made up just over half of the apparel industry’s annual revenue in 2020, menswear represented 33%, and is forecasted to grow by 5.69% annually, until 2026, indicating that men’s apparel is a valuable market segment to take into consideration, only set to grow further with time. Interestingly enough, within luxury apparel, menswear has taken the lead in recent years, and is forecast to maintain the leading position in the coming years.

blog-retviews-farfetch-17092021-gender mix

Farfetch differs from its competitors within its gender mix, with a nearly equal split between men’s and women’s collections on the luxury platform, potentially contributing to its leader status. The online marketplace includes a large 41% share of menswear in its assortment, where in comparison, competitors like MyTheresa have a relatively low percentage of menswear collections. Net a Porter on the other hand, does not have a menswear collection on its platform, with a dedicated website, Mr.Porter  which solely caters to the male luxury shopper, thus separating consumers between two different platforms.


Has the right assortment mix been found?

In the luxury marketplace sector, the apparel market takes charge, as most marketplaces direct a significant 50% or more of their assortment towards the clothing category. However, what sets Farfetch apart is the fact that it is the only marketplace to showcase a clothing assortment share of less than 50% (44% of the Farfetch assortment is geared towards clothing). So where else is the luxury platform placing its bets?

Graph Luxury Marketplace Assortment Mix Retviews Data 2021 Womenswear

Retviews data shows that with a 44% assortment share within clothing, the Farfetch marketplace has a more diversified assortment than its competitors, within the categories of bags, accessories and footwear. The platform thus has a more widespread offer within the industry.


What brands are taking charge?

Farfetch hosts an array of over 1300 brands  on its platform, ranging from high-end luxury to premium brands. The Farfetch marketplace differentiates itself from its competitors by offering a vast range of brands at different price points in one place, whereas competitors like MyTheresa focus on a smaller number of key brands and target a higher-income consumer that has a propensity to regularly purchase high-end products.

Graph Luxury Marketplace Assortment Mix Bag Brands Retviews Data 2021 Womenswear

Within the bag category, Farfetch displays the most evenly spread out selection of brands, showcasing its vast brand variety, whereas marketplaces such as Net a Porter tend to focus on several leading brands such as Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent. The even representation of some of the trendiest brands such as Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Saint Laurent and Valentino, that have been on everyone’s newsfeed lately, could be keeping Farfetch one step ahead of its competitors. 

Graph Luxury Marketplace Assortment Mix Footwear Brands Retviews Data 2021 Womenswear

In terms of footwear, Retviews data shows that Farfetch is leading the pack with the hottest brands of the year. Namely, the marketplace has the highest assortment share of Gucci footwear, Gucci being the hottest brand of 2021 thus far. Gianvito Rossi and Nike, representing the largest footwear assortment share within MyTheresa and Luisa Via Roma respectively, are minimal within the Farfetch assortment. Could this difference in brand assortment be putting Farfetch ahead of its competitors?

The Farfetch footwear assortment is in line with some of the trendiest brands of the season, as indicated by The LYST Index. The footwear market is worth over $360 billion and is forecasted to reach over $530 billion by 2027, indicating its value in the industry and showcasing how a significant share of assortment in footwear, with trending brands taking the lead, can be beneficial for the luxury marketplace.


A discount timeline unlike the others

Farfetch further differentiates itself from its competitors with its discount strategy. Whilst other luxury marketplaces seem to maintain a relatively low level of new discounts each month, Farfetch incorporates new discounts into its assortment share each month.

Graph Luxury Marketplace New Discounts in Share of Assortment Retviews Data 2021 Womenswear Luxury Marketplace Assortment Mix Footwear Brands Retviews Data 2021 Womenswear

Throughout the last several months, Farfetch showcased the highest level of discounts within the luxury marketplace sector in the month of June. With monthly new discounts, albeit small, Farfetch stands out. This difference in strategy could be contributing to additional users entering the Farfetch platform in order to take advantage of the constant new discounts.


Maintaining the leading position

Throughout the past year, Farfetch’s success has surged and its assortment strategy along with its e-concession business model, partnerships such as the Alibaba x Richemont Farfetch deal as well as  its Pre-Owned and most recently its Pre-Order services, have all contributed to its rise to the top and solidified its position in the luxury marketplace sector. Its large brand assortment also allows the company to appeal to and reach a wider range of luxury shoppers, differentiating it from its competitors.

With marketplaces such as MyTheresa, following suit and starting to use e-concession models on key brands and partnering with resale platform Vestiaire Collective, how will the luxury marketplace sector evolve in the coming years?

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