Fast Fashion on YouTube: Forever 21 vs. Primark

In the competition for inexpensive fast fashion, one might assume that Forever 21, a global enterprise, would be leading the charge for haul videos on YouTube. Yet, when a trend like “British invasion” hits a social network like YouTube, a closer look at European retailer Primark reveals that YouTube doesn’t always conform to what you assume.

For the month of July, Primark outperformed Forever 21 in both number of videos uploaded and views. On the view front, Primark had 3 million compared to Forever 21’s 1 million.

Both shops are staples for hauls on YouTube. Both brands have 70 percent of their haul videos coming from professional-level channels with between 100,000 and 1 million subscribers. Shoppers of one store tend to like shopping at the other.

The one major difference is that Primark is only in Europe, with the highest number of its shops located in the UK. As more British vloggers dominate the charts in fashion and beauty, more American vloggers gain exposure to Britain’s retail counterparts. Logically, word-of-mouth spreads fast, and internationally, thanks to YouTube’s dominance as a global video platform.

Those that vlog their hauls from fast fashion shops are dominating the conversation about fashion brands, such as Forever 21 and Primark. Fans of the vloggers want to connect with them by owning the same products and having a similar experience. In this instance, the culture of fast fashion is built on the culture of hauls.

Neither Primark nor Forever 21 is really in control of how much exposure they are getting on YouTube. When influencers, with large and loyal audiences shop at a particular place, that brand wins for the week. These haul videos inspire smaller channels to haul from the same shops not only to emulate the career trajectories of their heroes but also to stay on trend.

Fast Fashion, like makeup, has a quick product cycle and low price points. When fashion changes more frequently than the seasons, YouTubers who pride themselves on being on trend must keep up too. The global reach and immediacy of YouTube provides the world of fast fashion the perfect space to keep pace and stay ahead of the curve.


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