Twenty years ago, Victoria’s Secret was the name brand for high end, quality lingerie. The Victoria’s Secret fashion show was the epitome of sexy haute couture and the “angels” (models) lucky enough to be selected to walk the runway were guaranteed a solidified supermodel status. Men wanted to look at Victoria’s Secret and women wanted to wear it.
Yet despite a promising Victoria’s Secret 2018 Annual Fashion Show lineup including models Kendall Jenner, Candice Swanepoel, Bella Hadid, and more, as well as performances by Bebe Rexha, The Chainsmokers, Halsey, Kelsea Ballerini, Rita Ora, the company has been plagued with problems throughout 2018 including a recent CEO resignation, plummeting stocks (down 43% in 2018 alone), record low viewership of the annual fashion show, and store closures. Yet it’s not just one bad year. Stock prices have been in a downward spiral since 2015, dropping a reported 72% over three years.
How did a company that once cornered the market on bras and upscale lingerie fall so fast? Some experts argue that it’s due to the out of touch marketing strategy of the company. After all, most women don’t look like Victoria’s Secret angels. While the models in Victoria’s Secret fashion show remain extremely thin, other brands have embraced larger models and advertised for more diverse body types. At the fashion show for Rihanna’s Fenty line, the models came in a variety of shapes, sizes, and ethnicities- a stark contrast to the values espoused by Victoria’s Secret.
However, the major reason is likely that of competition. The fashion and makeup industries have extremely low barriers to entry, making it easy for competitors to undercut Victoria’s Secret by offering similar products at lower prices. Whereas Victoria’s Secret used to rely on brick and mortar stores and its catalog for sales, newer companies can target women using social media and internet advertising. While smaller startup fashion lines might not have as big of a budget as Victoria’s Secret, other retailers such as American Eagle and Amazon have both begun to take chunks out of Victoria’s Secret market share.
Unless the retailer revamps its image or adds another line as successful as their PINK line, all signs are forecasting a bleak Black Friday for the one-time lingerie giant.
Unless Victoria’s Secret angels can perform a Christmas miracle.