Port Washington, NY—Online shoppers are showing more interest in shopping—and buying—fashion categories such as apparel and accessories, according to a new “E-Commerce Hot Topic” report released today by The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research firm.
In an online survey conducted during the holiday season, NPD asked shoppers what categories they researched or browsed regardless of whether they purchased in the past 12 months. Books, stationery and offices supplies ranked first at 48%, followed by consumer electronics and apparel, each with 46%. Rounding out the fashion categories were footwear at 34% and fashion accessories at 25%.
“As we enter the second decade of e-commerce it becomes more important for retailers–and perhaps even more so for fashion retailers–to use their online properties to offer an evolved shopping experience, a three-dimensional shopping experience. That is to combine the two dimensions of brick & mortar, the ‘touch and feel’ with the ‘information and impulse’ of the online experience,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD.
Apparel, Accessories Make Gains
When asked when the last time they researched or browsed online was, 54% of those who shop for apparel online said they did so in the last month–compared to 33% for footwear shoppers and 28% of fashion accessories shoppers.
“Apparel has come a long way in getting consumers to engage online,” said Cohen, “Footwear took the early lead, and we can see that consumers are pretty comfortable purchasing apparel online these days. There seems to be a real opportunity for fashion accessories to get in the online game.”
Now with all that researching and browsing traffic, how much of that activity converted to an actual purchase? This past year, category shoppers were asked if they only browsed online or if they purchased online as well. Fashion consumers are most likely to purchase online, too: 73% percent said they both shopped and bought apparel online, 62% of footwear shoppers also purchased and 56% of fashion accessories shoppers converted into making a sale.
The Social Media Factor
“Converting the sale online should be the very next focus for fashion sales online,” noted Cohen. “Getting the consumer to go from browsing to purchasing takes new information beyond just product photos and price. It takes convincing the consumer to push the purchase button.”
NPD’s report also asked consumers about the impact social media has on their online shopping behavior.
Women were significantly more likely than men to report using social media sites. About 25% percent of online shoppers say they follow a retailer or brand on a social media site such as Facebook or Twitter.
When asked if they ever shopped for a product online as a result of something they had seen on a social media site 27% said that they had.
“Popular is one thing, purchasing is another. With one out of every four online visitors saying they follow a retailer or brand, it’s up to them now to convert them to purchasers,” said Cohen. “Social media continues to grow in importance for consumers. Social media should be an area where brands and retailers alike focus on connecting with the consumer. This is an area in which they can develop a relationship with consumers that will ultimately drive future growth.”
Methodology: An online survey was fielded November 28, 2011 to December 12, 2011 to a U.S. Representative sample of males and females age 18 and older from NPD’s Proprietary Online Registered Panel.
About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, visit http://www.npd.com/,