Celebrity style has always had a huge impact on retailers. From Victoria Beckham’s black and magenta ‘sell-out’mini dress in 2012 to Kate Moss’ $150 leopard Topshop number that sold out within 15 minutes.
In recent years celebrity branding has become more regal, following Kate Middleton’s wedding dress frenzy back in 2011. At the time wedding retailers jumped at the opportunity to push the lace trend as consumers yearned for replicas of the gown designed by Sarah Burton.
Described as the ‘Kate’ affect, companies have latched on to the Duchess of Cambridge’s popularity – particularly in the style stakes. Just hours after Kate Middleton left the hospital following the birth of Prince George in 2013, eBay recorded sales for “polka dot dress” increase by 122%.
Fashion retailer Hobbs also witnessed sales growth, with its ‘Dalmatian print coat’. This saw searches for “Hobbs mac” go up by more than 30% on the online giant in two days.
With the birth of the new royal looming, eBay is expecting a similar demand:
“We may not know which day or week the royal baby will be born on, or what his or her first outfit will be, but we can see that there is a tactical opportunity for brands. Those that can respond to changes in online behaviour quickly will reap the rewards”, commented Pauline Robson, Director, MediaCom Real World Insight.
Research from eBay highlights that Prince George and Prince William have also pushed company sales. When the young Prince attended a charity polo match in 2014 wearing a pair of Neck &Neck dungarees, searches for the brand went up by 400% in two days.
The Prince’s style also inspired shoppers over Christmas, as the Cath Kidston soldier jumper that appeared in the Prince’s first official portraits increased searches for “Cath Kidston tank top” by 500%. The searches remained high until the last minute Christmas shopping window.
All eyes will be on the royal family when Kate steps out with the new arrival. eBay’s Director of Advertising UK, Phuong Nguyen urging retailers to make the most of this:
“The birth of a royal baby can capture the imagination of the nation’s shoppers; brands need to be present and relevant when consumers head online after being inspired by the fashion choices of Kate, William, George and the newest addition.”
Robson believes that brands should be tapping into Real time data in the lead up to the special day: "Real time data gives brands the ability to identify and tap into spikes in consumer interest almost instantaneously, which ensures they can be relevant to shoppers when it matters most.”
eBay’s research suggests that star names sell and that celebrity style or even royal influence is set to stay – retailers should be taking note.