Chinese consumers’ enthusiasm for international fast fashion retailers such as H&M has cooled off. The company’s sales growth declined in the Chinese Mainland, with the figure at four per cent in the second quarter of this year, compared with an average of more than 20 per cent before 2015.
Fast fashion retailers chase the latest designs at lowest cost, so their quality can't match that of items produced in a long manufacturing cycle. Substandard quality is a common problem among fast fashion brands. Batches of fast fashion clothes are being sent back or destroyed due to unqualified color fastness or pH or formaldehyde readings higher than the required limit.
Competition in the fast fashion segment has escalated in recent years, mainly due to the growth of local brands. The fast rise of domestic brands including Urban Revivo, Peace Bird and Heilan Home poses a challenge and threats global counterparts. Between its establishment in 2006 and August this year, Urban Revivo opened more than 160 stores in China and abroad. In August alone, it opened four stores, compared with H&M’s 21 in China in the first half. Fast fashion is changing into ultra fast fashion. Shoppers increasingly want it now and production cycles are speeding up.