September 2020 Monthly News Roundup

We are pleased to share with you our roundup for September 2020. This month we highlight the focus on ethical brands and the shake up in the luxury market. 


This month, we gain a truer understanding of consumers' current mindset and how that effects their purchase preferences and decisions moving into fall and winter.


The public and private markets were strong in September with multiple industry heavy weights filing IPOs. In the data and gaming industries, data cloud warehouse, Snowflake, set its IPO price range between $75 and $85 for its upcoming direct listing and Palantir, a data and analytics software company, eyed a $22M valuation in its public market debut. Mobile game platform Skillz went public with a $3.5B valuation and video game software development company, Unity set its price range for the upcoming IPO at $1.05B. Notable investments this month included: Connected fitness platform, Zwift ($450M), financial technology platform Greenlight ($215M), fitness start-up Tonal ($110M), life sciences collaboration tool Within3 ($100M), analytics and security company Devo Technology ($60M), an app to connect adults with companions Papa ($18M), online plant shop Bloomscape ($15M),  in-venue retailer entertainment UPshow ($14M), takeout delivery hub kbox (£12M), pre-owned cycling site The Pro's Closet ($12M), visual content marketplace Snappr ($10M), furniture rental platform Mobley ($9M), Andreessen-backed food supply chain company Silo ($9M), grocery platform Homesome ($6.7M), and live recorded event platform Ribbon ($1.2M). 

The Focus on Ethical Brands


Over the span on the pandemic, consumer interest in corporate social responsibility and diversity within the workplace has never been higher and the pandemic has reinforced the importance of this across industries. This focus is likely to remain a top priority as consumers remain hungry for socially conscious brands.This month in the beauty industry, Sephora announced its plans to dedicate a percentage of shelf space to brands founded or owned by people of color in hopes of providing founders a community and ecosystem to support their launch. The new Sephora Accelerate program will allow wellness, skin-care, makeup, hair and accessory brands based in the U.S to participate in next year's six-month business workshop, which will provide founders with possible grants, mentorship, and funding. In the luxury fashion industry, Burberry made a bold move this month by joining the sustainable financing trend. The British luxury company prepared a bond issue to finance its green projects and is the first sustainability labelled bond issued by a luxury company. This decision strengthens the brand's focus on corporate responsibility as it aims to win over socially conscious investors and consumers. The financial industry has also taken notice as Afterpay, an Australian payment app, announced a partnership with Good On You, a ratings platform that connects conscious shoppers to brands that perform sustainable and ethical practices. This partnership further solidifies Afterpay's commitment to encourage sustainable shopping and enables consumers to browse through a database of fashion brands, all assessed against a rating system for their impact on people, environment and animals. This type of partnership will be, perhaps, one of many as younger consumers become more conscious about those they support and purchase from. 



The Shake Up in the Luxury Market 


After much anticipation, Amazon announced the launch of Luxury Stores on Amazon's mobile app to invited Prime shoppers in the United States, its newest attempt to find a winning luxury retail formula. At the moment, the concept allows luxury brands more independence over how they stock items, price through Amazon's merchandising tools, personalize content, and offer customer service. Amazon's big move into luxury fashion and goods comes during a turbulent time for brick-and-mortar stores as big department stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor shutter. It signifies a change in the typical "fashion destinations" and if Amazon can control pricing and guarantee no counterfeits, it could pose a great threat to more traditional luxury retail platforms. Due to environmental concerns and the growing popularity of resale giants, such as The RealReal and Vestaire Collective, the secondary market is also on the verge of significant development as luxury brands slowly embrace the trend. Recently, Gucci joined a group of luxury players as it launched an online shop with The RealReal. The second life boom reflects the broader market trends as fashion looks to explore new digital business models and reach younger generations or new consumers in the midst of the economic downturn.


If you don't already, follow us on Instagram @theretailsafari as we highlight some of our favorite brands and concepts and take you with us on our retail safaris in NYC and beyond. We wish everyone health and safety during these trying times.