Fashioning supply chains to meet industry's needs
DHL’s recent Fashion Unleashed report revealed that in the high-stakes world of fashion it is becoming crucial for retailers and manufacturers to re-think their supply chains, in response to changing consumer dynamics, demands and expectations.
The report highlights three trends that are currently shaping the fashion sector globally, namely the digital empowered consumer, the rise of disruptive retailers – having the ability to quickly launch new products, and the growth of the global middle class.
According to Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, the rise of the digital consumer is rapidly changing retailers’ selection and use of sales channels.
This is further supported by the most recent MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey, which revealed that online shopping is continuing to show increasing growth in South Africa, and confirmed that 58 percent of active users shopped via the internet in 2012, a steady increase from 44 percent in 2009.
Rahavendra said: “Selling online provides an attractive low-cost, low-risk option for gauging consumer demand for certain products.
“Advanced mobile financial services in Africa have also paved the way for mobile commerce opportunities. To overcome traditional infrastructure challenges, mobile payments are fast becoming the norm in key markets such as South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.”
Another trend identified in the report is the rise of the disruptive retailer. “In a product world, there’s a phenomenon called ‘big bang disruptors’ which refers to products that can create, or destroy, entire product lines and whole markets overnight
“Having the ability to quickly launch new products (whether it be in fashion or technology), replenish and sell at full price, and drive a high volume of customers to a store, physical or virtual, is becoming increasingly valuable in the retail sector.
“Sourcing locally or from neighbouring countries allows for fast replenishment, without the added cost of duties for textiles and apparel,” explained Rahavendra.
International investors are also capitalising on the manufacturing opportunities presented within Africa. According to the African Development Bank, one of the largest shoe exporters in China set up a factory in Ethiopia as part of a plan to invest US$2 billion over 10 years in developing manufacturing clusters for export.
Similarly, South African and Taiwanese textile firms have looked towards Lesotho to avoid rising local input and labour costs. This focus on Lesotho as being an integral part of the fashion value chain has resulted in the apparel sector contributing 17 percent to Lesotho’s GDP.
According to Deloitte, Africa’s middle class has tripled over the past 30 years, and the current trend suggests that the African middle class will grow to 1.1 billion in 2060.
“This growing global middle class is driving a wave of consumerism for all types of goods, from mobile phones and televisions to fashion.
“When considering expansion, it is important to remember that each country in Africa is unique. Companies often make the mistake of moving into Africa with a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
According to market intelligence agency WARC, West Africans have an outlook closely aligned to the US, whereas East Africans tend to find Asian brands more appealing.
Understanding the differing cultures and brand preferences is therefore important when considering a retail expansion strategy,” adds Rahavendra.
“In order to maximise the opportunities offered to fashion retailers, suppliers need to know how to service markets with a supply chain that is agile enough to respond quickly to sudden or unexpected changes, flexible enough to customise products and efficient enough to protect margins,” concluded Rahavendra.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”