Bottega Veneta’s successful relaunch hinges on accessories
What are the secrets of Bottega Veneta’s renaissance? The power of its accessories and its signature bright green colour. In just a few seasons, after Creative Director Daniel Lee took charge in July 2018 (he was replaced last month by Matthieu Blazy), the Kering-owned label has become one of the most coveted on the luxury market thanks to its leather goods creations, primarily handbags. A highly lucrative category that accounts for nearly half of the product range, according to a Retviews by Lectra study.
Bottega Veneta recorded a stunning result in 2020, despite the pandemic, generating a revenue of over €1.2 billion. In Q3 2021, its sales were worth €363.4 million, up by 9.3%. As noted by digital consulting firm Lectra, “in 2020, leather goods accounted for only 55% of Gucci's total revenue, while 74% of Bottega Veneta's global sales were generated by this category.” Leather goods account for 42% of Bottega Veneta’s product range, as opposed to 37% for Balenciaga, 32% for Prada and 29% for Gucci. In other words, the category is much more important for Bottega Veneta than for its competitors.
Notably, the label's handbags have the lion’s share of its leather goods assortment, thanks to a number of ‘it bags’ which have been phenomenally successful in the last three years. Some models proved so popular that they sold out as soon as they were available on the market. Like the Pouch, a rounded, handle-less tote bag worn under the arm, halfway between a bundle and a cushion, made in ultra-soft leather in a number of different hues.
While respecting its heritage, Lee has managed to revitalise Bottega Veneta by injecting a breath of fresh air into the label, making it younger and more modern. His style is at once uber-contemporary and highly recognisable, translating into products that are very simple and easy to wear, each featuring a surprising detail or a playful touch. He gave a new twist to Bottega Veneta’s signature intrecciato woven leather pattern, a technique he has featured in oversize versions of the Cassette Bag and Jodie Bag, both instant hits.
Clutch bags in particular have propelled the label centre-stage again, and account for 22.3% of its leather goods range. They are less prevalent at Bottega Veneta's competitors, having an assortment share of only 7% at Prada, and of less than 5% at Gucci and Balenciaga. This has given Bottega Veneta a competitive edge, enabling it to cultivate a new image and giving a huge boost to its popularity, according to Retviews.
Bottega Veneta’s handbags are positioned in the luxury market’s upper bracket, their prices ranging from €290 to €15,000, while for Gucci they range from €250 to €35,000. The most frequent price-point for Bottega Veneta leather goods is higher than that of Gucci, at €2,500 as opposed to €2,100. Also, the label’s entry price for handbags, at €290, is slightly higher than that of other leading luxury labels.
As well as with handbags, Lee has also been incredibly successful with footwear, creating models as original as they are desirable: from wool and shearling mules to quilted or knitted sandals, and models featuring plastic spirals rising up the leg, looking like telephone cords from the 1960s.
Highly recognisable products
Footwear is the second highest-selling category for Bottega Veneta, and in 2020 it accounted for a 16% share of revenue. Stiletto-heeled sandals account for 30% of the assortment, more than double the share they muster at the label’s competitors. Conversely, sneakers account for a very small share, unlike at other labels. Bottega Veneta also features an impressive array of boots, equivalent to 18% of the assortment, as opposed to 10% for Gucci, 9% for Prada and 7% for Balenciaga.
Finally, Lee’s relaunch strategy has not only managed to make Bottega Veneta an extremely desirable brand, but also a highly recognisable one, thanks to a recurrent colour, a vibrant bright green that, collection after collection, has become the Italian label’s signature hue. It is a clever, effortless way to differentiate the brand, allowing customers to show their allegiance without needing to flaunt a logo, and one that is easily featured on all kinds of products, from ready-to-wear to accessories.
Products in ‘Bottega Green’ account for 13% of the range, the largest share in a single colour among the collections of the label's competitors. “This vibrant colour, a must in any minimalist label's collection and one of the most popular colours in 2021, might be exactly what consumers had been looking for recently, and the label that features it is Bottega Veneta,” said Retviews.
The study concluded that “[Bottega Veneta’s] current strategy of focusing on leather goods and footwear has proved to be a success, with these categories producing the highest share of revenue and some of the most popular products in the fashion industry.” The question is how new creative director Blazy will be able to continue along this path. He will need to remain consistent with this strategy and keep Bottega Veneta's appeal fresh, without modifying the magic recipe.
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