Samantha Dover
Samantha Dover is Mintel's Category Director - Beauty & Personal Care, identifying and analysing emerging beauty and personal care trends and writing in-depth market research reports in multiple sectors.

Love Island returned to our screens this week and has once again proved a hit for ITV with over 4 million viewers watching the new series, including ITV Hub figures from all devices. It’s proved very popular with younger audiences, with 57% of 16-34-year-olds tuning into Tuesday’s premiere of the latest series.

Source: Joel Anderson/ITV

Tapping into the youth fashion market

In the first partnership of its kind for ITV, last year’s show was sponsored by online-only fast fashion retailer Missguided. Never before had an ITV show integrated a fashion sponsor so thoroughly into its programmes.

During each episode breaks, the retailer ran conventional television adverts. This was complemented with a ‘Style’ button the Love Island app which showed stills of contestants wearing Missguided clothes from the most recent episodes. Meanwhile, Missguided’s social media content also promoted items worn by the show’s contestants.

Source: @Missguided

Missguided reported that after a contestant wore an item on screen, sales routinely increased by 300% to 500%. Overall, the retailer reported a 40% boost to sales when the programme aired compared to the eight weeks prior to when the show started.

However, as ITV and Missguided didn’t disclose the financial terms of the partnership it is difficult to understand the return on investment for the brand.

Helping retailers to stand out in a crowded youth fashion market

The fast fashion market is extremely competitive, with new youth-targeted fashion brands constantly launching online and one of the biggest challenges retailers face is standing out in a crowded market. With consumers liking to experiment, brand loyalty is now difficult to win.

As a result, retailers are now looking for new ways to engage their target audience. The Love Island partnership is a perfect example of how a brand can cut through the noise and reach its key customers in an authentic way through more creative advertising techniques.

The partnership also shows a real understanding of how young people are behaving and their media consumption habits. Mintel research finds that they are constantly connected across a variety of digital devices, and when they are watching TV, they are also highly likely to be using their smartphone.

The in-app purchasing functionality effectively tapped into the ever-evolving way young people are now shopping for fashion. Most 16-24-year-olds have bought items online via a smartphone in the last year, and young consumers are now more likely to shop online using their smartphone than they are via a laptop or tablet.


I Saw It First – Love Island 2019’s partnership

This year, Love Island viewers will again be able to buy contestants’ looks directly through the Love Island app but this time featuring clothes from I Saw It First. It is a relatively new player in the online youth fashion market, only launching in 2017. The retailer has only has 574,000 followers on Instagram, paling in comparison to Missguided’s 4.4 million.

So the Love Island partnership will give I Saw It First incredible exposure and will inevitably boost customer acquisition and sales.

However, this doesn’t mean that the partnership won’t face challenges. Love Island is under intense scrutiny this year, with the mental health of both its participants and viewers in the spotlight. And there is also further criticism of the show’s lack of diversity and such noise could erode people’s perception of the programme, particularly as over a third of 16-24-year-old television viewers are now actively looking for TV shows/films with a diverse cast.