Target is the number one swimwear retailer in the U.S.—proof that legacy retailers and their private labels scale faster and further than digitally-native brands.

WHAT HAPPENED: Thanks to Target’s private label swimwear brands, the company has been the top-selling swimwear retailer for both men and women since 2015. Target launched its latest private label swimwear collection last week with over 1,800 styles, its biggest collection to date.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Target can rely on its existing audience, diverse product assortment and far-reaching store locations to drive its private-label sales. While digitally-native competitors want to take a piece of Target’s market share, many Instagram-famous brands feature higher price-points (Target’s average swimsuit is $40) and only attract niche audiences. Target’s all-encompassing brick and mortar presence also allows customers to try on products IRL—a luxury many nascent digitally-native brands can’t offer. Target’s private labels and famous designer collaborations will be enough for the retailer to continue to thrive in this category for the foreseeable future.
  • However, Target’s abundance of cheap and cheerful products won’t fare well with increasing consumer concern about environmental sustainability. Despite its fleet of 1,844 stores nationwide, such a broad product assortment will naturally result in excess inventory, which means waste. While customers are currently excited by Target’s variety, a surplus of inventory could become overwhelming and unappealing. Ongoing criticism around the retailer’s sustainability practices could prompt customers to buy swimwear from a more ethically-conscious brand.