Research analysis of forever 21

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Business ・APA ・5 Sources

A fashion retailer focusing on expanding its business and strategy was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1984. Forever 21 Inc. is a shop that focuses on selling and promoting affordable, stylish apparel and accessories. Do Won Chang, the CEO, and his wife Jin Shook Chang created the company, and they have since toiled nonstop to ensure the success of their commercial endeavor. On April 21, 1984, Fashion 21 was founded in a 900 square foot storefront on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles, California. The name of the company was changed to the Forever 21 franchise after the owner began a tradition of opening up a new shop after every six months.

The company has been successful in identifying and selecting a target market, as well as in ensuring that the brand name remains at the top of its clientele’s mind. The target audience, which is mostly the young people including teenagers, young adults, and college students. This subgroup of the larger population is entirely conscious about their appearance and their fashion sense, forcing the company to adjust the prices of the products to remain affordable to the target market. The prices of the products in these store range from $2.50 to $60, although most of the goods range at $45.

To attract the customers to their stores, Forever 21 has a strategy of offering store environments that stimulate shoppers, ensuring that exciting merchandise and apparels are supplied on a daily basis (Bruce & Daly, 2006). The company has over 7,000 employees under its name, over 500 stores in the US alone, and a handful of others distributed around the world in South Africa, Asia, The Americas, Europe and the Oceania. In the Middle East, the stores are operated at 50% joint venture with a local retailer, whereas in the other locations, the stores are 100% owned by the company (Barnes & Lea-Greenwood, 2010).

To increase their accessibility to their clientele, forever 21 has gone beyond the conventional clothing business by opening stores in several parts of the world. Other than these stores that are strategically located for easy access to their customers, the store has also opened an online store that allows busy people who will not have the time to enter the stores or even people who live far from the stores to access the products that are sold in there regardless. Due to their low prices, forever 21 has gone ahead to become one of the biggest household names in the industry because middle to low-class citizens get value for their money in these stores (Bruce & Daly, 2006).

The stores are strategically located in shopping malls, which are in most cases the places where its target audience is found (Bruce & Daly, 2006). The company is also seen to advance towards an aggressive growth plan since it continues to open up more stores across the globe, acquire more stores and chains like it did to Gadzooks which had over 240 locations, as well as started an accessory line, Love 21. The investment will continue to become more lucrative in the coming years, thus grow the revenue of the company from the current more than $2 billion (Barnes & Lea-Greenwood, 2010).

The business model of Forever 21 is fast fashion, which simply means that the company aims to imitate the current trends and styles in the fashion market, manufacture them in large scale, and finally selling them at a low piece. Most of the company’s products have been imported from countries that manufacture these products in bulk like Bangladesh. This company has an indirect channel of distribution. The apparel and accessories to be distributed are taken through the stores so that the end consumers can purchase them.

Forever 21 has a number of strengths, with its biggest being the fact that it is a retailer of recent fashion trends for a low price. This means that forever 21 clientele remain trendy in their fashion. Further, the store has gone ahead to categorize its store, making the product sold suitable for a variety of clients, regardless of body size and shape. The shopping hustle has been completely reduced by this categorization because there are stores for vintage clothing, accessories as well as stores for women’s clothes, plus size people and upscale clothing. The company is also a one stop shop for clothes encouraging more and more people to shop from the store (Bruce & Daly, 2006).

However, most of the weaknesses of this company stem from the fact that that is copies fashion designs from other designs and manufactures these pieces in bulk, for sale at a low affordable price. The company has repeatedly been sued for exact duplication of designs that are exclusively sold in the chain of stores. It could also be difficult to find some clothes as the stores are usually restocked regularly, meaning it is messy and that there is usually so much to choose from. Some of the products that are sold in the chain of clothing retailer include jewelry, bags, pants, dresses, footwear, shirts, bags, tights and leggings, skirts, cardigans, vests, innerwear, active-wear, tops, jumpsuits and rompers, and finally sweatshirts and pants (Myers, 2009).

Analysis of the Target Market

Forever 21’s target market mostly consists of women who fall in a variety of age-groups, ranging from pre-teens, teenagers, college students and young adults. Fashion forward young women are also part of the target market because the company focuses on providing fast fashion. The young women that fall in this age-group in most cases try to keep up with the latest fashion trends from the runway, while still trying to make the best out of every dollar. They also tend to have little income as the preteens, and some teenagers still depend on their guardians to get the money for shopping. The rest of them usually have jobs, but the money is not enough for them to pay their bills and remain fashion forward, as latest trends are usually expensive. This fast fashion mogul takes advantage of this need to spend very little yet remain fashion forward, through selling the latest runway trends at a low affordable price. Due to the store’s need to keep up with its target market, it stays on the cutting edge by keeping up with the different platforms of social media (Barnes & Lea-Greenwood, 2010).

The success of the company can also be attributed to the use of psychographics, which are used to determine what the customers find most interesting about the store and what it is the clients would like to purchase on their next visit. By establishing this information about their clientele, the Forever 21 chain of clothing and accessory retailers stocks their supply in accordance with the preference and opinion of the customers. The effect is that customers always find interesting and good things from the store, making it difficult for customers to shop in other stores (Yang &Kwak, 2010).

Further, the company has a competitive advantage of having changes every time the client visits the store. The variety of merchandise offered in the stores is also sold for affordable prices. The stores can, therefore, compete amongst other clothing vendors in shopping malls. In the stores, different antiques and coloring themes have been artistically applied and designed making it easy for the clients to locate what they are shopping for. Everything in the store strategically placed and well branded to make the shopping experience less of a hustle and more pleasant (Bruce & Daly, 2006).

The psychographic information or trends required by Forever 21 to predict the needs and wants of their customers include:

  • The women or clientele of this store ought to be highly fashionable or fashion forward, looking to buy apparel and accessories on a low budget.
  • The trends are also motivated and inspired by the fashionable and trendy clothing styles that change frequently and regularly.
  • The clientele ought to be looking for the fashion trends that have recently graced the catwalk.
  • The clothes, due to the nature of the price they are sold for, are usually disposable.
  • The clientele ought to be willing to give up the aspect of quality of the products that they buy so that it is possible for them to save money and buy more low-priced items.
  • The clientele is also very informed about the current fashion trends, connected to a large network of potential customers, and generally interested (Yang &Kwak, 2010)

Emerging trends, social forces, peer pressure have also played a key role in the success of the franchise. Emerging trends have made these fashionable items sold at the stores a must-have possession among many teenage and young women. Nowadays, most of them do not want to be left out on a certain trend that they have either seen online, on TV or even on a music video. These constantly emerging trends encourage the clientele to continue buying more and more clothing and accessories from these stores, contributing to the success of the franchise. Social forces and peer pressure have also been successful psychographic values for Forever 21, because regardless of how negatively they affect individuals they promote the growth and success of the business. More and more people are suffering the fear or the pressure that exists from not fitting into the environment they are in, and for women, fashion is constantly involved (Bruce & Daly, 2006).

To stay on the top of the industry, the company uses psychographic media to obtain information from their clients. Their interface online allows for integrated theme improvements to their media objectives, as well as to add strategies employed by the company. Clients are also provided with ideas of the next collections that they rate, and the feedback is used to pretest and test current and future products. This completely eradicates losses that emerge after unwanted products produced in large quantities. To keep the clientele interested in information from the site, the company provides fashion news and advertisements. There are also Twitter and Facebook accounts that are used to engage the clients in terms of communication and opinions (Yang &Kwak, 2010).

Company Forecast

Forever 21 can be considered as one of the most successful companies in the world. One of its greatest strengths as a company is that it has clearly identified its target market to ensure that it exclusively develops products for them. However, it still stands to lose sight of its target market and suffer the loss of their dominant industry position as one of the best fast fashion retailers in the world. Other companies like Levi Strauss, Liz Claiborne, and Gap have fallen victim to this same top to bottom phenomenon. Thankfully, there are strategies that if implemented, could help Forever 21 to sustain their business (Bhardwaj& Fairhurst,2010).

The company has an excellent advertising, marketing, and sales strategy. However, the company has to continue finding new ways to find their clientele entertained and informed. This is because it will keep the customers guessing and looking out for new products. The feedback obtained could also improve company-client relationship which further only guarantees more loyalty and more success. The feedback could also be used to design products that suit the needs of the clients while at the same time reducing waste to a minimum. This is yet another way for the company to not only sustain their business, but it is also a way for the company to progress further in its success (Bruce & Daly, 2006).

Another strategy that could be employed to help the company to sustain its business is to prevent loss and wastage to the minimum. This is also something that the company is doing, but when mastered, it could do much more good to the company. Preventing losses and reducing wastage includes guaranteeing security for the products being sold, as this age-group is very prone to shop-lift just so to fit in. Forever 21 could master the art of surveillance on the customers that visit their stores. Attendants should also be able to work around the clock in all days to ensure that all aisles are manned by cameras and human surveillance to prevent losses from shoplifting. The staff can also be trained on handling any situations that come up in the store, to guarantee the smooth running of the store operations(Barnes & Lea-Greenwood, 2010).

In the advent of technology, the growth of social media platforms has broken all the barriers that could have ever existed in a marketplace. Brands can now establish their aesthetic and identity in the manner that they please. Forever 21 is already doing so well in terms of embracing the endless possibilities brought about by technology. However, since the other fast fashion competitors are also embracing these technologies, the company has to become creative in the manner that it utilizes the internet and technology, to ensure constant communication between the company and its clients. Social media could be used more aggressively to make people more aware of the brand and products, to highlight the aesthetic of the brand, as well as to generate sales for the company. It could also be used to get more feedback from the clientele (Bhardwaj & Fairhurst, 2010).

The company is also being faced with a lot of controversies resulting from the issues concerning the authenticity of their designs. They have already been sued a number of times by some competitors and designers. By ensuring there is always a slight difference in the designs Forever 21 duplicates, it reduces the number of lawsuits that are filed against it, thus reducing the monies that go into paying out lawsuits, thus sustaining its business (Myers, 2009).

There are also issues concerning the working conditions of the first fashion mass production workers. Several documentaries have since been done to document their plight, and if the company fails to do something for its mass production workers, it will be strongly affected. The company could start a corporate social responsibility program that looks to ensure the working conditions of these mass production workers are looked into, and they are given the right working conditions. This could also distinguish them from their competitors in the industry giving them an advantage to the customers because they would appear more humane.


Yang, J. S., &Kwak, H. W. (2010). A study on fabric pattern design of fast fashion-Focusing on the case of FOREVER 21 brand. Journal of the Korean Society of Design Culture, 16(2), 347-355.

Myers, E. (2009). Justice in fashion: cheap chic and the intellectual property equilibrium in the United Kingdom and the United States. AIPLA QJ, 37, 47.

Bruce, M., & Daly, L. (2006). Buyer behaviour for fast fashion. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, 10(3), 329-344.

Bhardwaj, V., & Fairhurst, A. (2010). Fast fashion: response to changes in the fashion industry. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 20(1), 165-173.

Barnes, L., & Lea-Greenwood, G. (2010). Fast fashion in the retail store environment. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 38(10), 760-772.

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