H&M vs Zara

Just recently, I did a little shopping. I was on the hunt for a silky white t-shirt and a black clutch. Just a few basics. Immediately, I knew either H&M or Zara would have exactly what I was looking for. Long story short, I found the t-shirt at Zara and the clutch at H&M. While I was looking for these items, I started to notice the feelings I had towards the two brands. Basically, I Zara and I hate H&M. This is weird because, not too long ago, I was a die hard H&M fan. What changed?
H&M vs Zara Venn Diagram
According to Zara’s Competitor’s Analysis, H&M is one of their biggest competitors. Before I go into this analysis of why I love Zara and hate H&M, Let’s look at the similarities and differences.
(Click on image to see large view)
Looking at the venn diagram above, H&M and Zara are similar in a sense that they both offer fast fashion at a very low price to men, women and children. H&M, in my opinion, is faster than Zara because they offer a lot more trendier pieces that do not last that long through time. H&M has very good basics that can last trough time, as long as you do not wash it too much. Zara, on the other hand is fast fashion that can be worn for a longer period of time because they are less trendy and more classic. When deciding on whether or not to choose H&M or Zara, one must ask themselves if they want to be on trend for a short amount of time, or if they  want classic pieces that will last longer. 
Target Market and Personalities 
H&M’s target audience is both male and female and range from 8 months-35 years of age. The popular segment is female 16-26 years of age. The one thing that bugged me the most about shopping in H&M was the fact that I was shopping in the same store as a bunch of 16 year olds. I felt like the old hag in the club. Zara’s target audience is also both male and female. Zara does not like to define or segment its target market by age because they like to keep a broad audience, like H&M. However, Zara’s popular segment are young women ranging from 20-30 years of age. Needless to say, I felt a bit more comfortable in Zara.
I have always considered Zara to be H&M’s cool, more sophisticated, older sister. Zara’s brand identity is mature, confident, beautiful, modest, un-pretentious, and well-kempt. H&M’s brand identity is trendy, edgy, urban, free-spirited, and expressive. There are a lot of women my age who can really pull off the trendy and expressive look. They look cool and edgy. When I first started college, I use to be that trendy chick. The one downfall to being that trendy girl is the risk of having to update your closet every month because things fall out of style quickly. Now that I am older, I relate more to Zara’s brand identity.
Visual Merchandising 
The  thing that I hate the most about H&M is their visual merchandising. H&M’s idea of merchandising is to put absolutely everything on the floor and cover every corner of the store with all kinds of clothing. No strategy needed. This makes shopping extremely difficult. It took me about an hour to look through the entire store to find one clutch I liked. It almost makes me wonder whether or not I even really like the clutch, or if I was just gave up and picked whatever I saw decent. Zara is very selective and only puts out half of their inventory on the floor. It is a lot easier to find what you are looking for.
As I get older, I get more selective when it comes to my brands. I search for more quality and less for a bargain. Do not get me wrong. I will still go to H&M, probably until I am 25, to buy my basic t-shirts and socks. However; for now on, my everyday looks will be coming from Zara.




  1. I agree with you that although H&M and Zara are very similar companies, they have different vibes. I also find that Zara has used better, more organized merchandising techniques than H&M. I am not personally a huge fan of either, but have a few items from each.

  2. Before reading this article, I have only been to H&M. I was never a big fan because of the basic clothes and I found it hard to find what I needed; I completely understood the writer's struggle. After reading this article I decided to browse the Zara website. I did find a lot of clothes I would buy and do agree that Zara is more trendier than H&M. Just from this article I got to know Zara and now know where I want to go when I go on my next shopping trip.

  3. I completely agree with a lot of the things you are saying. I don't mind going to H&M for some simple basics, but besides that I am not a huge fan of the store. I always feel overwhelmed when I walk in there and it makes it harder for me to shop. I have loved Zara since the first time I walked in there. I like that I can purchase classic pieces that I can wear for a while. Zara also isn't cluttered like H&M is and that makes it a little bit easier and less overwhelming when shopping.

  4. I completely agree with this article. I rarely shop at H&M; every time I walk into the store I am overwhelmed by the amount of clothes they have out on the floor and leave. H&M's clothing is not of high quality and cannot be worn for an extended amount of time. Whereas at Zara, the clothing is more expensive, but is made of higher quality materials. In my opinion, I prefer to invest in nicer quality clothing that will last a while, that to buy cheap clothes that won't last longer than a couple of months. I enjoyed reading this article because it relates to what I am learning about fast-fashion, visual merchandising, and target markets in my Survey of Fashion Industry class.

  5. This article is right on time. I completely agree with your view on the layout of H&M. I HATE it! I hate the fact of looking through clothes and I hate the fact that I can barely move around some parts of the store because the racks are too close together! I would always choose Zara over H&M because I like the more elegant, exclusiveness of Zara as you stated. Yes, a lot of people shop at Zara but more people shop at H&M. H&M is not a bad place to shop but I look at H&M as more of a piece finisher store. That store that you need to find a top or blazer to complete an outfit.

  6. I completely agree with you and have had a similar change in heart! I used to love H&M as well, but their visual merchandising has really gotten to me. Now I just feel overwhelmed when I walk into their store. There is way too much stuff all over the place and it makes for a horrible time when you're fighting with someone else to look at an item. I also agree with the idea that as you get older, you tend to shift more towards Zara because of their timeless pieces.

  7. I agree that the layout and visuals of H&M are very sporadic and overwhelming. There is way too much merchandise crowded on to the floor, which makes it hard to find things and also makes the shopping trip timely. However, I know when I go to H&M with a certain piece in mind, I am almost always able to find what I want because of the large selection. I appreciate how they are constantly updating the merchandise in the store with the latest trends. I shop there frequently because of the low prices- I prefer to have more lower quality pieces over one high quality piece. Zara is definitely more sophisticated and has better quality pieces with slightly higher prices. I shop there when I want classic stylish pieces that will last without having to spend a lot.

  8. While I agree that Zara is far more sophisticated and demure than H&M I have to disagree that all of Zara's clothes are simple classics. As someone who absolutely loves Zara I have noticed that when it comes to the men's department that Zara is far more daring than H&M. In Zara's men's department there are many bold statements like shirts with metallic embellishments, intricate graphics and hems that you not normally see. H&M might be more bold and trendy when it comes to women's clothing but I feel as though Zara is the more fashion forward store for menswear.

  9. I completely agree that Zara is easier to shop in. The clothing is laid out on the floor according to styles and paired with things that go together. I also find Zara to be more fashion forward than H&M. You can find things right of the runway for an inexpensive price. I love black textured pieces which Zara has a lot of. H&M tends to be brighter and funkier clothing. It's also very hard to sift through the chaotic amount of clothing in H&M

  10. I definitely prefer Zara over H&M. Visually, H&M is very overwhelming with the amount of clothes cramped together onto the small racks. I can almost never find anything in H&M. Zara, while a large store, has more of a boutique atmosphere with less clothes on display. However, I do think the both stores are fast fashion with basics added in. H&M advertises their basics more, but I find basics at Zara frequently and their mix of statement and basic pieces are why I prefer it.

  11. I definitely agree with you! H&M and Zara are definitely comparable brands. They are both fast fashion; however, H&M is definitely more trendy and Zara has more classic pieces that can be worn longer. I personally shop at both and have quite a few items from both stores. I always never enjoyed the layout of H&M. I would always spend a long time looking at the cramped, unorganized racks and walk out with only one or two items. It is definitely overwhelming and makes the shopping experience less enjoyable. Zara has a better layout with less clothing on display in store. I agree that as I get older I transition into shopping solely at Zara due to their more classic, high quality items.

  12. I found this article very interesting, because I am not very familiar with Zara. Where I lived before here there was no Zara and therefore I have never been there. However after reading this article I am determined to check it out. I have found that as I get older I have the same issues with H&M as were described in this article. Though I used to walk in there and see many things that I wanted, now it has become more hard and overwhelming to find something that I think will truly add to my wardrobe. Though I do still own many pieces from H&M I am realizing that adding some new stores to my shopping list could really benefit the creativity and maturity of my closet.

  13. I completely agree with you! I used to love H&M but now I'm a big Zara girl. I love the way it almost feels like you are in a luxury department store, but it's affordable. The quality at Zara is much higher than at H&M. I love the venn diagram because it really lays out everything about each store. I definitely have things from H&M, but my go-to for cheap basics has switched over to Zara!

  14. I agree strongly with the writers statements about the two stores. I have only been into H&M maybe two times in my life, and immediately when I walked in the store, I could tell the quality of the clothing at the store was extremely low ,therefore I have never bought anything from H&M. Zara on the other hand, is very chic and the clothes have a higher quality, even though they are under the same category of “fast fashion”. I have many clothing pieces from Zara and not one of them have fallen apart. I agree with the writer's venn diagram strongly and I also agree that when I walk into Zara, I see stylish intricate pieces that are classic yet up to date. After reading this article, I am glad that I have not purchased any clothing piece from H&M.

  15. I found this article very intriguing and interesting. I too can relate in terms of prioritizing Zara over H&M. I thought you brought up a very interesting concept about the visual merchandising at H&M vs. that of Zara. I never really compared the two. However, I agree that the layout of H&M is very overwhelming as well as the ambiance of the store is aimed at a younger generation full of 16 year olds. After reading this article I will defiantly think of the differences of color segmentation as well as other aspects of the stores appearance next time I go shopping.

  16. It was such an interesting topic to compare between Zara and H&M. I have the same opinions as this article stated. H&M do has more peices and more trendy than Zara. However, Zara is more delicate and keeps longer compare to H&M. Also, the shopping atmosphere in Zara is definitly better than the H&M. I personally like to shop in Zara over H&M.

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