In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalisation in the fashion industry between July 2020 and June 2021 was 519% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When fashion and accessories companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalization is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether digitalization is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of fashion and accessories companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned digitalization at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 96% compared to 79% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalization.
Of the 10 biggest employers in the fashion industry, VF Corp was the company which referred to digitalization the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 975 digitalization-related sentences in the United States-based company's filings - 1.5% of all sentences. Wacoal Holdings Corp mentioned digitalization the second most - the issue was referred to in 1.1% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalization mentions included Christian Dior SE, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Hermes International SA.
Across all fashion and accessories companies the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on digitalization came from VF Corp. Of the document's 2,136 sentences, 23 (1.1%) referred to digitalization.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalization and how important the issue is considered within the fashion industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning digitalization more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalization have been successes or failures.
In the last quarter, fashion and accessories companies based in the United States were most likely to mention digitalization with 1.24% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Western Europe mentioned digitalization in just 0.73% of sentences.