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January 24, 2022

Fashion filings: 50% rise in digitalisation mentions in Q3 of 2021

Mentions of digitalisation within the filings of companies in the fashion industry rose 50% between the second and third quarters of 2021.

By Andrew Hillman

In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalisation in fashion filings between October 2020 and September 2021 was 109% higher than in 2016 when Global Data, 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, Global Data analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalisation 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 digitalisation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of fashion and accessories companies, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the fashion industry, VF Corp was the company which referred to digitalisation the most between October 2020 and September 2021. Global Data identified 251 digitalisation-related sentences in the United States-based company's filings - 2.8% of all sentences. Christian Dior mentioned digitalisation the second most - the issue was referred to in 1.2% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalisation mentions included LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Hanesbrands and Hermes International.

Across all fashion and accessories companies the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on digitalisation came from Levi Strauss & Co. Of the document's 1,780 sentences, 18 (1%) referred to digitalisation.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalisation 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 digitalisation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are using new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalisation have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, fashion and accessories companies based in the United States were most likely to mention digitalisation with 2.06% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Western Europe mentioned digitalisation in just 0.98% of sentences.

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