Mentions of cybersecurity within the filings of companies in the fashion industry rose 87% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to cybersecurity during 2021 was 148% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When fashion and accessories companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Cybersecurity is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether cybersecurity is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of fashion and accessories companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned cybersecurity at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 91% compared to 85% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to cybersecurity.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the fashion industry, Christian Dior was the company which referred to cybersecurity the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 31 cybersecurity-related sentences in the France-based company’s filings – 0.7% of all sentences. Hermes mentioned cybersecurity the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.4% of sentences in the company’s filings. Other top employers with high cybersecurity mentions included Gildan, Hanesbrands and LVMH.

Across all fashion and accessories companies the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on cybersecurity came from Gildan. Of the document’s 1,645 sentences, 14 (0.9%) referred to cybersecurity.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on cybersecurity and how important the issue is considered within the fashion industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning cybersecurity more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company’s ventures into cybersecurity have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, fashion and accessories companies based in Western Europe were most likely to mention cybersecurity with 0.38% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the United States mentioned cybersecurity in just 0.22% of sentences.

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