AfterPay Insights’ research into Dutch Fashion Shoppers’ expectations of the upcoming peak season sales and their purchase intentions reveals some interesting findings.
Around 50% of Dutch Fashion Shoppers state that they intend to purchase within Fashion during the upcoming peak season. This share is generally higher among Heavy Fashion Shoppers (two or more bi-weekly online Fashion purchases), who stand for 10% of all Dutch consumers and make 64% of all Fashion purchases. Among Dutch consumers who traditionally don’t buy Fashion online, 27% claim they will purchase in Fashion during the upcoming peak season. As this segment makes up ¾ of Dutch consumers, the impact of their purchase intention, although relatively low, is expected to be significant.
About 60% of Dutch Fashion Shoppers intend to buy mostly casual Fashion (compared to around 11% who will buy mostly formal Fashion, and 25% who will buy both casual and formal Fashion ). When it comes to occasions, Dutch Fashion Shoppers intend to shop Fashion for everyday wear (70%), for at home (43%) and for sports or the gym (13%). Dutch consumers – despite the pandemic situation: working from home and special occasions often missing from the social calendar – also indicate to shop Fashion for at the office (23%) and for events, like a (formal) party, Christmas or New Year’s Eve (46%). This may explain why some Dutch Fashion Shoppers still intend to shop formal Fashion. However, current developments and measures in the Netherlands may shift these intentions to a more casual Fashion focused shopping behavior.
Our latest data also indicates that as consumers purchase more in Fashion, they focus less on buying Fashion items for specific events – they then shop more Fashion for everyday occasions - at home, for the office, for sports and outdoor activities. Zooming out to overall purchases, around 50% of Fashion Shoppers have already planned what to buy in all product categories during peak season.
Of all upcoming peak season sales, Dutch Fashion Shoppers consider Black Friday the ‘king of sales’ offering the best deals: the more a consumer buys Fashion online, the stronger the focus on making a Black Friday deal. But although it is the biggest shopping event for Dutch Fashion Shoppers, St. Nicholas and Cyber Monday are expected to grow more in terms of number of consumers who intend to buy.
Since April, Fashion is outstanding in attracting brick-and-mortar shoppers to shift to buying through online channels; this shift is the driving force for Fashion’s growth. Fashion purchases reach a peak at +101% (compared to mid-March) during the 1st half of May. By that time, the segment online Fashion Shoppers grows from 18% to 29% of Dutch consumers – a dramatic inflow of new consumers into online Fashion. The share of Heavy online Fashion Shoppers also grows from 6% to 14% - more than doubling. Overall, Fashion more or less carries general e-commerce purchase growth and development in the Netherlands, but also in Germany and Norway.
From a merchant perspective, Fashion Shoppers express higher demands on flexibility than the average online shopper, specifically when it comes to flexible payment- and return options. Interestingly, the more a consumer buys in Fashion, the higher his or her demands are. But Fashion Shoppers are also very experienced online shoppers; they conduct an overall larger volume of purchases online compared to non-Fashion Shoppers. As a result, Fashion Shoppers know what to expect from merchants. They are therefore more satisfied with merchants’ performance compared to non-Fashion Shoppers.
Fashion Shoppers’ high level of online purchase experience leads to higher expectations of merchants. We see for example that consumers who shop more Fashion online, expect more peak season promotions. They also expect promotions to come earlier this year compared to last year, and in addition they expect these promotions to impact their purchase patterns in a significant way. Are you prepped to satisfy these consumers?
Around 50% of all Fashion Shoppers state that they intend to purchase within Fashion during the upcoming peak season. This share is generally higher among Heavy Fashion Shoppers (two or more bi-weekly online Fashion purchases) compared to among Light Fashion Shoppers (one bi-weekly online Fashion purchase). In the Netherlands, Heavy Fashion Shoppers comprise 10% and Light Fashion Shoppers comprise 17% of all consumers (in the 2nd half of September). The remaining 73% are Non-Fashion Shoppers: consumers that traditionally don’t buy Fashion online. Of this group, 27% claim they will purchase in Fashion during the upcoming peak season. As this is the largest segment, the impact of their purchase intention, although relatively low, is expected to be significant.
When it comes to types of Fashion, about 60% of Dutch Fashion Shoppers intend to buy mostly casual Fashion that can be worn to different occasions. An additional ~25% intend to buy both casual and formal wear, whereas only about about 10% state they will buy mostly formal wear. In this regard there is no significant difference between Light Fashion Shoppers and Heavy Fashion Shoppers.
65% of Dutch consumers who intend to buy in Fashion will buy Fashion from regular brands. There is no significant difference between Light and Heavy Shoppers with regards to the types of brands that they plan to shop with, however we do see differences between countries.
However, Light and Heavy Fashion Shoppers also have higher expectations of the peak season sales compared to Non-Fashion Shoppers. Fashion Shoppers expect that – compared to last year - merchants will offer more promotions leading up to Christmas. And a significantly larger share of Fashion Shoppers expects that merchants will compete to launch best promotions/special offers as early as possible.
Fashion Shoppers are dramatically overrepresented in the share of consumers who intend to make a purchase on Black Friday. In the Netherlands, more than 40% of Fashion Shoppers intend to purchase during Black Friday, compared to only 25% of Non-Fashion Shoppers. This is a clear indication that Black Friday has a more Fashion oriented image compared to the other peak season sales.
Compared to many other online categories, like Food & Groceries, online Fashion struggles during the outset of the corona pandemic in mid-March. But as consumers settle in to the new situation, online Fashion picks up and more or less carries overall e-commerce growth and performance. Since mid-March, online Fashion grows more than all other categories and is the single largest online product category – it thus has a significant impact on overall e-commerce purchase development. By the end of September, the online Fashion share of all online purchases is 22% in the Netherlands, 17% in Germany and 18% in Norway.
And by the 2nd half of September, following an overall downturn in online purchases through the summer vacation period, the share of Heavy Fashion Shoppers is stable at 10%. And these Heavy Fashion Shoppers stand for 64% of all online Fashion purchases in the Netherlands.
Is the upward trend that we see during the second half of September the result of consumers resuming ‘normal’ purchase patterns after summer? Or has autumn come early and are consumers shopping for a new season? Has peak season already (partly) kicked in? What will be the impact of societal (pandemic) measures on purchase development in the Netherlands? Follow our future posts to stay on top of developments.
Fashion Shoppers’ ‘hygiene needs’ (needs that have to be satisfied to gain and retain customers), are generally the same as among online shoppers in general: the webshop needs to be perceived as secure (this relates to both payment and delivery) and consumers prefer a well-known webshop that they have used before – which also ties in to the wider concept of security. However, Fashion Shoppers’ demands on flexible payment options and flexible return options are significantly higher than Non-Fashion Shoppers. Although lower in magnitude, offering specific services to meet Fashion Shoppers’ needs can differentiate brands from a competitive perspective.
By the second half of September customer satisfaction levels across all main dimensions even out. This is a sign that merchants now satisfy Fashion Shoppers in a balanced manner - no single aspect currently underperforms.
Stay tuned for analyses of Fashion in Germany and Norway soon.