Leading fashion retailers are strengthening teams with more data-related professionals, new report finds

  • ​Data-related professionals within fashion organizations have grown 7.4% despite market challenges, according to a new report by Nextail
  • Sportswear leads as the most “data-forward” category, followed by Premium and Ready-to-Wear

Fashion retail organizations are investing in a growing number of professionals that specialize in data analysis, automation, and other analytical skills as the industry becomes more attuned to data for driving decision-making. The “Retail Data-Forwardness Index 2020: Tracking data talent in fashion”, released today by retail AI technology provider ​Nextail​, studies major fashion retailers as their teams grow to include professionals such as data scientists, AI analysts, data engineers, and more.




The report lays out the groundwork for a recurring study that ​indexes major global fashion companies based on their total number of data-related employees in relation to annual revenue to find each organization’s level of RD, or “retail data-forwardness”. ​Nextail’s research also measures the weight of these more than 2,000 professionals over the total headcount and profit margins of each company. According to the report, the Sportswear category, led by Nike and its recent ​data and digital initiatives​, is the most “data-forward” category, followed by Premium, and Ready-to-Wear.

“The best way to improve customer experience at scale is through data and automation”, said Nextail CEO and Co-Founder Joaquin Villalba. “Today, customer expectations can only be met with the support of advanced technology based on data. A better understanding of localized demand, coupled with agile decision-making models will allow retailers to get closer to customers at scale while also reducing costs and increasing sustainability.”

The report also finds that despite major uncertainty and disruption caused by COVID-19 in 2020, ​data-related professional onboarding by fashion companies grew by 7.4% ​over the last year, and the weight of these professionals over total headcount continues to grow. This growth is perceived even after many retailers carried out major spending cuts and layoffs as a result of the global pandemic. This reinforces the idea that data continues to be a growing trend within the industry, Nextail argues.

“We expect that the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 will further drive fashion retailers closer to their data and away from theoretical, top-down projections, still widely used for decision-making in the industry. For 2020, we foresee a growth of over 10% in data-related profiles in leading fashion organizations,” Villalba said.

About Nextail​: Nextail is a fast-growing tech company that leverages advanced analytics and AI to empower fashion brands and retailers to sell more with less stock through hyper-demand forecasting and agile process automation.

Founded by fashion retail experts in 2014, Nextail calls more than 25 global retailers customers, including ​major fashion brands such as River Island, Versace, and Pepe Jeans. Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, the team is now formed by more than 90 retail, technology, and operations professionals and has offices in Spain, Italy, Russia, the UK, and the US.

Nextail was named a ​2020 World Economic Forum Pioneer for contributions toward creating responsible models of consumption for the benefit of business and society. We help fashion companies to reduce 50% of the waste generated due to unsold stock which is a drastic reduction in pollution and the use of the planet’s resources.