An analysis of German Fashion Shoppers’ expectations of the upcoming peak season sales as well as their purchase intentions shows several relevant findings.
When it comes to purchase intentions, around 50% of German Fashion Shoppers state that they intend to purchase within Fashion during the upcoming peak season. Shopping frequency is an important factor in purchase intention: Heavy Fashion Shoppers (making two or more bi-weekly online Fashion purchases) intend to make more purchases than Light Fashion Shoppers (one bi-weekly online Fashion purchase). But of German consumers who traditionally don’t buy Fashion online, 24% claim also they will purchase in Fashion during the upcoming peak season. As this segment makes up ¾ of German consumers, the impact of their purchase intention, although relatively low, is expected to be significant.
The majority of German Fashion Shoppers – 60 to 70% - intend to buy mostly casual Fashion (compared to less than 10% who will aim to buy mostly formal Fashion, and about 30% who will buy both casual and formal Fashion ). At the same time our data indicates that as consumers purchase more in Fashion, they focus less on buying Fashion items for specific events; in that case they then shop more Fashion for everyday occasions – for at home and/or for the office. Most consumers who intend to buy Fashion for a specific event will shop 'for Christmas', ‘for a formal event/party' and ‘for a party’. When we zooming out to German Fashion Shoppers’ overall purchases, around 50% of Fashion Shoppers have already planned what to buy in all product categories during peak season.
Of all the peak season sales (Halloween, Singles’ Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas), German Fashion Shoppers consider Black Friday the ‘king of sales’. They see Black Friday as offering the best deals. We can even state that as German consumers buy more Fashion online, the stronger their focus on making a Black Friday deal. But although it is the biggest shopping event for German Fashion Shoppers, Cyber Monday is expected to grow more in terms of number of consumers who intend to buy.
The German Fashion e-commerce industry – just like its counterpart in The Netherlands – is very capable of attracting brick-and-mortar shoppers to shift to buying through online channels. Not surprising that this shift is actually the driving force for Fashion’s online growth in Germany. We see that Fashion purchases reach a peak at +53% (compared to mid-March) during the 2nd half of April. By that time, the segment online Fashion Shoppers grows from 18% to 26% of German consumers – a dramatic inflow of new consumers into online Fashion. The share of Heavy online Fashion Shoppers also doubles during that period, from 6% to 12%. Overall, Fashion more or less carries general e-commerce purchase growth and development in Germany, but also in The Netherlands and Norway.
From a merchant perspective, German Fashion Shoppers express higher demands on flexibility than the average German online shopper, specifically when it comes to flexible payment- and return options. Interestingly, the more a German consumer buys in Fashion, the higher his or her demands are. German Fashion Shoppers are also experienced online shoppers; they make more online purchases online than Non-Fashion Shoppers. As a result, Fashion Shoppers know what to expect from merchants and are more satisfied with merchants’ performance compared to Non-Fashion Shoppers.
German 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 than last year. And 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. In Germany, this share is approximately the same among Heavy Fashion Shoppers (two or more bi-weekly online Fashion purchases) as among Light Fashion Shoppers (one bi-weekly online Fashion purchase). During the 2nd half of September, Heavy Fashion Shoppers comprise 9% and Light Fashion Shoppers comprise 15% of all consumers in Germany. The remaining 76% are Non-Fashion Shoppers: consumers that traditionally don’t buy Fashion online. Of this group, 24% 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, 60-70% of German Fashion Shoppers intend to buy mostly casual Fashion that can be worn to different occasions. An additional 25-30% intend to buy both casual and formal wear, whereas less than 10% state they will buy mostly formal wear. Interestingly in Germany, the more you generally buy in Fashion, the higher is your focus on casual wear (and less on formal wear).
65% of German 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.
Zooming out and looking at a broader category perspective, we see that 58% of Heavy Fashion Shoppers in The Netherlands, 61% in Germany and 72% in Norway intend to make at least one purchase in any product category during peak season. Among Non-Fashion Shoppers in Germany, the corresponding share is significantly lower at 43%. Circa 30% of all German Fashion Shoppers have even already decided exactly what they will buy in any product category - they are just waiting for merchants to offer them the most attractive deal. However, the other 30% of consumers who intend to make a peak season purchase are not sure what they will buy yet – opportunities exist to influence these consumers in their purchase decisions.
In addition, Light and Heavy Fashion Shoppers also have higher expectations of the peak season sales compared to Non-Fashion Shoppers. German 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.
German Fashion Shoppers are dramatically overrepresented in the share of consumers who intend to make a purchase on Black Friday. In Germany, 47% of Light Fashion Shoppers and 53% of Heavy Fashion Shoppers intend to purchase during Black Friday, compared to only 32% 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 in Germany struggles during the outset of the corona pandemic in mid-March. But as German consumers settle in to the new situation, online Fashion picks up and more or less carries overall e-commerce growth and performance. In April, 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 17% in Germany (in comparison: this figure measures 18% in Norway and 22% in The Netherlands).
Is the stabilized growth rate in online Fashion purchases that we see during September a sign of consumers having returned to ‘normal’ purchase patterns after summer? What effects (if any) can we expect of consumers shopping for a new season? How will peak season influence online Fashion growth, and what will be the impact of societal (pandemic) measures on purchase development in Germany? 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: prices need to be attractive, 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, German 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 these particular needs of Fashion Shoppers’ can differentiate brands from a competitive perspective.
Stay tuned for an analysis of Fashion purchases in Norway soon.