Australians switched up their streetwear during rolling lockdowns in 2020-21. It became more about dressing for fitness and leisure in the open air than casual socialising in city centres. So it was beautifully serendipitous that Superdry already had its Performance Sport and athleisure projects well under way at the time. “We are doubling down on the core of the brand being our Original and Vintage style choice, whereby we can present the true DNA of Superdry,” Superdry CEO Antony Hampson s
pson said. “That said, there is always a requirement for brands to attract and talk to a new, potentially younger consumer. We see this opportunity in the athleisure space, with both our Performance Sport range and our Superdry Code style choice, which delivers a contemporary spin on classic styles across jackets and sweats – all crafted in a wider offering of standout colours.” In Autumn/Winter 2021, the iconic streetwear brand ran an above-the-line campaign called ‘The Jacket to Own Winter’, showcasing a wide range of jacket styles for any occasion on billboards nationally, radio ads, and stadium advertising during the AFL season. Then in October 2021, Superdry launched its first Performance Sport concept in Melbourne, as part of Myer’s ‘Movement’ rollout, which Hampson explains features a mix of the brand’s more technical products, as well as its athleisure range: “Given the comfort element to Superdry’s product offering, we see sport as an incremental opportunity to continue our sales growth, tap into a new customer, as well as offer something new for our existing customer. We are really pleased with how we are presented in this space alongside some other great international brands.” Trending on digital channels Superdry’s digital presence across e-commerce and social-media channels was already expanding rapidly before Covid-19 arrived – the pandemic simply helped accelerate it, Hampson reports. “I do expect there to be some levelling off of online demand; however, I think this shift in consumer behaviour has forever changed the landscape of retail,” he said. Huge growth in digital media means retailers are targeting consumers with many more ads – so getting cut through is quite the challenge, Hampson admits. Therefore, Superdry is focused on personalising its communications so they’re relevant and welcome; the brand is enjoying great success on social media, especially on ultra-short video platform TikTok. “Across 2020-21, Superdry collaborated with NZ music artists eleven7four and Universal Music, with influencers sharing viral dance routines on TikTok, generating millions of views and engagements over our key winter period,” Hampson said. “The brand also saw 300 guests line up for more than three hours at a store opening in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, producing more than 1,200 pieces of content and generating 2,000 followers over the course of a single day.” Superdry gets cut-through by localising strategies to each platform and its community without compromising its own brand DNA or the integrity of the platform’s community. The brand is now experiencing a higher level of buying intent among its customers since stores reopened post-lockdown; consumers have researched online and know what they want before they enter the physical store. As a result, in-store conversion rates and transaction values are both up. 2022 and beyond: a sustainable future Superdry’s goal is to become the most sustainable listed fashion brand on the planet, which Hampson says will be helped by several initiatives, such as: Changing all branded satchels to either a recycled plastic or biodegradable material by mid-2022Lowering waste by using packaging only when necessary and ensuring it is 100 per cent reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025Sourcing only 100 per cent organic cotton by 2030Using recycled and low-impact materials at scale across the whole Superdry range, with a big push during the brand’s AW22 jacket campaign. As Australia and the world emerge from many months of lockdowns and restrictions, Hampson anticipates increased footfall in Superdry’s physical retail stores and a slight easing of online demand. “We’re certainly seeing some strong KPIs coming out of stores at the moment,” he said. “And with borders reopening over the next 3-6 months, those locations that rely on both domestic and international tourism should see a good spike in shopping.” Early in the new year, Superdry will officially launch an athleisure installation alongside Myer, accompanied by a gift-with-purchase offer and plenty of social-media coverage gained through influencer gifting. “We are also hopeful of having some high-profile AFL players make an appearance on the day,” Hampson mentioned in passing, before announcing the brand’s 2022 plans. “We’ll take the lessons from last season and turn up the dial for AW22. We will be talking more about the sustainability of our jacket collection, partnering with some exciting local talent, continuing to look for new store opportunities. And we’re looking to roll out our Supercrew loyalty program in early 2022.” This article was originally published in the 2022 Australian Retail Outlook, powered by KPMG.