Just as many are beginning to bulk up their wardrobes for fall and back-to-school, a new study shows the surprising, and growing, influence of mobile and video for apparel purchases. The research, put together by Compete on behalf of Google, found that more than 1 in 5 apparel consumers use their tablets or mobile devices daily for shopping, and 4 in 10 visited a store or retailer website as a result of watching apparel videos.
The study was based on a May 2012 survey of people who researched or shopped for apparel online in the past 6 months, as well as an aggregated clickstream analysis. The aim was to examine how digital media influenced apparel purchases.
Apparel isn’t necessarily a natural convert to digital research and purchase, given that many people want to try clothing on before buying it. Still, it seems digital shopping has become so pervasive that more than half of apparel sales will be influenced by online sources by the end of 2012, according to Forrester Research projections.
Much of this digital apparel shopping is happening on mobile devices — mostly while they’re at home.
More than 69% of consumers shopped on their phone or tablet at home, while 28% did their mobile shopping while waiting in line, 27% while at work, and 31% while in a store. When they’re using their devices, people are conducting price comparisons and looking for promotions or coupons (56%), reading reviews (42%), searching inventory (38%), scanning bar codes in stores (16%), and contacting the retailer or manufacturer (13%).
These mobile researchers are very valuable to apparel retailers,making more frequent purchases and spending more per average order. Twenty-five percent of mobile researchers purchased apparel more than six times in the past six months, as compared to 16% of non-mobile researchers. Seventy-eight percent spent more than $50 on their last apparel purchase, as compared to 56% of non-mobile researchers. Additionally, the researchers found that nearly half of mobile apparel shoppers discover new brands while using their devices.
Video also has become a key influencer for online apparel shopping, especially among Millennials (aged 18 to 34). The study found that 31% of shoppers used YouTube to shop for apparel and 37% watched a video on a retailer website. And those researching via video are big spenders — 28% of those who did video research spent more than $500 in the last 6 months, while only 2% of non-video researchers did.
One key driver is the trend of user-generated “haul” videos — in which bloggers post videos showing off their latest shopping purchases. Some of these bloggers, such as MacBarbie07, have gotten more than 100 million video views. Google says the volume of these videos are increasing on YouTube. Of the nearly 600,000 “haul” videos on YouTube, more than 35,000 were uploaded in the last month. These numbers jibe with the experience described by Kelly Cook, SVP of marketing at shoe retailer DSW. In a talk at the eTail Boston conference this week, Cook cited “haul” videos as important and growing in influence.
These online apparel shoppers can be motivated to make impulse buys, the study found. In describing why they made impulse purchases 73% said they received a good deal, 19% got free shipping, 19% said they like to wear the latest trends, 17% said they had a gift card, and 13% bought more to meet the threshold for free shipping. In general 34% of shoppers said they were encouraged to purchase after seeing an online video ad.