H&M: Designer Collaborations
In 2004, H&M started collaborating with designers for its collections as a strategy to maintain the growth previously experienced by the company. Nine collaborations later, this case study critically assesses the impact of this strategy upon H&M's financial success and provides a series of best practice strategies.
*An assessment of the H&M collaborations with Lagerfeld, McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, Cavalli, Marimekko, Comme des Garçons, Williamson, Choo and Rykiel.
*Insight into the product ranges, pricing, promotions, in-store merchandising and distribution strategies used for H&M's individual collaborations.
*An independent view of collaboration success factors including the choice of partner, distribution arrangements, pricing and the size of the range.
Designers had a variety of different strategic motivations for collaborating with H&M. Some were seeking wider global publicity and for Stella McCartney the collaboration provided the opportunity to spread her ethical views to a wide consumer audience and resulted in H&M substantially exceeding its commitment to using organic cotton.
For the 'Karl Lagerfeld for H&M' launch the retailer encouraged the formation of long queues by providing breakfast and a limited edition Karl Lagerfeld t-shirt to the first 200 people queuing before each store opened. The same t-shirts were worn by staff and available for purchase. Products were approximately 15% of the price of standard designs.
Retailers targeting the 'masstige' market through designer collaborations should ensure they deliver a sense of exclusivity and luxury to their customers. This can be done by limiting the size of the collaborations range, the number of stores it is available at, the store merchandising and by smaller initiatives such as superior shopping bags.
Reasons to Purchase
*Decide if collaborations are suitable for your business by uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of famous examples from across the globe.
*Ensure that your collaboration marketing, including pricing and promotions, is aligned with industry best practice.
*Whether you are a designer or a retailer, select the best partner for your collaboration by uncovering some of the features of a successful strategy.
Table of contents
The images below summarize each of the designer collaborations
H&M's financial performance varied for each collaboration
DRIVERS BEHIND THE DECISION TO COLLABORATE
The demand for luxury has increased
The demand for masstige is driven by the increasing velocity of modern society
H&M's designer partners had a range of incentives for working with the retailer
H&M DESIGNER COLLABORATIONS IN FOCUS
The first H&M designer collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld had the greatest impact
The first H&M collaboration was high profile and offered consumers a semblance of exclusivity
The collaboration provided a means for H&M to generate financial growth
The collaboration enabled male and female consumers to access affordable luxury
The collaboration received a high profile advertising campaign
The Lagerfeld collaboration achieved outstanding financial success for H&M
The Stella McCartney collaboration failed to replicate the exclusivity of Lagerfeld
The Stella McCartney collaboration lacked the profile and exclusivity of the Lagerfeld collection
The collaboration sought to recreate the publicity and financial success achieved by Lagerfeld for H&M
The collaboration provided the opportunity to purchase replica McCartney designs at value
The collaboration was the first to make use of a launch party to promote a collaboration collection
The less established reputation of McCartney was reflected in the inferior packaging
The collection increased sales on the previous month but failed to match Lagerfeld's success
The Viktor & Rolf collaboration matched the success of the Stella McCartney collection
The Viktor & Rolf collection provided consumers with a sense of exclusivity
The third designer collaboration sought to maintain the higher earnings of the previous two years
The Viktor & Rolf collection for H&M provided customers with poor value
The launch party for the Viktor & Rolf collections was the most lavish to date
The collaboration was accompanied by a heavily themed store environment
The collaboration enabled H&M to maintain the sales figures generated by the McCartney collection
The Roberto Cavalli collection marked a return to high profile and exclusive collaborations
The Cavalli collaboration epitomised masstige
The collaboration marked H&M's attempt to repeat the success of the Lagerfeld collaboration
The Roberto Cavalli collaboration for H&M was the highest priced to date
Like Lagerfeld, the in store launch entailed promotions
Visual merchandising and packaging were used to create a luxurious shopping experience
The collaboration was one of the most successful financially for H&M
The Marimekko collection was the least successful of all H&M collaborations
The collaboration marked the start of a shorter designer collaboration cycle
Marimekko was given an opportunity to increase brand awareness amongst young consumers
The size of the Marimekko collection undermined the consumer's experience of exclusivity
The Marimekko collaboration was accompanied by a low key launch
Up market packaging was used to justify higher prices for a collection designed by H&M
The Marimekko collection was highly unsuccessful, resulting in a decline on the previous month's sales.
The Comme des Garçons collaboration was the first to be used to enter a new market
The collaboration provided consumers with a sense of exclusivity
The collaboration provided H&M the an opportunity to improve its profile in Japan
The price differential between Comme des Garçons' H&M range and its standard designer range was low
The collaboration was launched first in Tokyo to celebrate the opening of a new store
In store visual merchandising was used to perpetuate a sense of exclusivity and luxury
The collaboration resulted in an increase in sales on the previous month
The Matthew Williamson collaboration was the most successful collection after Lagerfeld
The Williamson collaboration was the first to consist of two collections
The collaboration provided H&M with a high profile entry into the Chinese market
The High Fashion collaboration provided female consumers with Williamson's designs at excellent value
Launch parties were used to mark both phases of the collaboration
Up market packaging was used to create a luxurious shopping experience
The success of the Williamson collaboration varied between the first and second phase
The Jimmy Choo collaboration was a disappointment for H&M
The Jimmy Choo collaboration was high profile and provided consumers with exclusivity
The collaboration marked H&M's attempt to recreate the success of previous high profile collaborations
The high price of the Jimmy Choo range did not sit well with the recessionary climate of the collaboration
The collaboration was accompanied by a high profile advertising campaign and launch party
Visual merchandising & packaging were used to justify the collaborations higher prices
The collaboration failed to meet expectations
The Sonia Rykiel collection proved that designer collaborations have longevity
The Rykiel lingerie collection marked the first collaboration to be sold outside of H&M stores
The Sonia Rykiel collections significantly increased the intensity of the designer collaboration cycle
The Rykiel collaboration was the first to focus exclusively on lingerie
A high profile launch party was used to mark the first phase of the collaboration's release
Luxury packaging was used to create an up market shopping experience
The Rykiel collaboration overcame the recessionary attitudes of consumers to increase sales dramatically
A number of key drivers are responsible for the success of H&M's designer collaborations
Key factors driving the success of the H&M designer collaborations
STRATEGIC ACTION POINTS
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By company: H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB
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