Norwegian Fashion Shoppers go for casual looks this Peak Season and plan to score the best Fashion deals on Black Friday and ‘after Christmas’

AfterPay Insights’ research into Norwegian Fashion Shoppers’ expectations of the upcoming peak season sales and their purchase intentions reveals some interesting findings.

The majority of Norwegian Fashion Shoppers state that they intend to purchase within Fashion during the upcoming peak season. Heavy Fashion Shoppers (making two or more bi-weekly online Fashion purchases), make up 6% of all Norwegian consumers and make 51% of all online Fashion purchases. Among Norwegian consumers who traditionally don’t buy Fashion online, 33% claim they will purchase in Fashion during the upcoming peak season. As this segment makes up almost 80% of Norwegian consumers, the impact of their purchase intention, although relatively low, is expected to be significant.

In contrast to Fashion Shoppers in Germany and the Netherlands, a larger share of Norwegian Fashion Shoppers aim to buy formal wear during the peak season sales. And with Norwegian Fashion Shoppers’ focus on more formal wear comes a larger focus on shopping for specific occasions. Of consumers that intend to buy Fashion for a specific event, most will shop 'for Christmas', ‘for a formal event/party' and ‘for a party’. And Fashion shoppers are, in comparison with non-Fashion shoppers, significantly overrepresented regarding purchases for the ‘New Years Eve’ and ‘Party’ occasions. This said, the majority still intend to buy casual wear for everyday occasions. 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, Norwegian 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 Norwegian Fashion Shoppers, Cyber Monday is 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 its first peak at +61% (compared to mid-March) during the 2nd half of May. By that time, the segment of online Fashion Shoppers grows from 14% to 20% of Norwegian consumers – a big inflow of new consumers into online Fashion. The share of Heavy online Fashion Shoppers also increases during this period, from 5% to 7%. Overall, Fashion has been a big contributor to the general e-commerce purchase growth and development in 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. And in Norway, Fashion shoppers also have higher demands on lower prices and a wide assortment compared to non-Fashion shoppers. 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 experience with online shopping leads to higher expectations of merchants. We see 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?

The majority of all Norwegian Fashion Shoppers intend to purchase Fashion during peak season, versatile casual wear is in focus

The majority of all Norwegian Fashion Shoppers state that they intend to purchase within Fashion during the upcoming peak season. This share is 68% among Heavy Fashion Shoppers in Norway (two or more bi-weekly online Fashion purchases) and 56% among Light Fashion Shoppers (one bi-weekly online Fashion purchase). During the 2nd half of September, Heavy Fashion Shoppers comprise 6% and Light Fashion Shoppers comprise 15% of all consumers in Norway. The remaining 79% are Non-Fashion Shoppers: consumers that traditionally don’t buy Fashion online. Of this group, 33% 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, overall, Norwegian Fashion Shoppers intend to buy mostly casual Fashion that can be worn to different occasions. At the same time, about 20% of Fashion shoppers state that they intend to buy mostly formal wear. Interestingly in Norway, the more you buy in Fashion, the less the focus is on ‘mostly casual wear’ (and the more focus is on formal wear).

63% of Norwegian 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.



In contrast to Fashion shoppers in Germany and the Netherlands, Norwegian Fashion shoppers also have a stronger focus on buying Fashion for specific occasions. Among Norwegian Fashion shoppers intending to buy Fashion during the Peak Season sales, 66% state they will buy ‘for a specific occasion’ and the corresponding figure for traditional non-Fashion shoppers is 58%. Of consumers that intend to buy Fashion for a specific event, most will shop 'for Christmas', ‘for a formal event/party' and ‘for a party’. Fashion shoppers are, in comparison with non-Fashion shoppers, significantly over-represented regarding purchases for the ‘New Years Eve’ and ‘Party’ occasions.



Zooming out and looking at a broader category perspective, we see that 72% of Heavy Fashion Shoppers in Norway, 61% in Germany and 58% in the Netherlands, intend to make at least one purchase in any product category during peak season. Among Non-Fashion Shoppers in Norway, the corresponding share is significantly lower at 46%. Circa 40% of all Norwegian 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 25-30% of Norwegian 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. Norwegian 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.

Black Friday is king among Norwegian Fashion Shoppers, but other sales are expected to grow more

Fashion Shoppers are dramatically overrepresented in the share of consumers who intend to make a purchase on Black Friday, and the more shoppers normally buy in Fashion the higher the share that intend to purchase during Black Friday. In Norway, 65% of Heavy Fashion Shoppers and 52% of Light Fashion Shoppers intend to purchase during Black Friday, compared to only 41% 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.

Our results also indicate that Cyber Monday is expected to grow more than Black Friday amongst Fashion Shoppers: about +40%, whereas Black Friday is expected to grow less (+20% among Light Fashion Shoppers and +17% among Heavy Fashion Shoppers). Halloween and Singles Day, although smaller, are also expected to grow significantly – but not among Heavy Fashion shoppers who are very focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Besides Fashion Shoppers’ high purchase intentions for Black Friday, consumers’ perceptions of where they can make the best deal also underlines the strength of Black Friday: 47% of Norwegian Heavy Fashion Shoppers, and 36% of Light Fashion Shoppers state that the best deal can be made during this event. And about 30% of Fashion Shoppers also claim that the ‘After Christmas’ sale offers the best deals.

Online Fashion purchases has a significant impact on overall e-commerce performance

Compared to many other online categories, like Food & Groceries, online Fashion grows on par with the overall e-commerce industry during the outset of the corona pandemic. But as consumers settle in to the new situation, online Fashion picks up and more or less carries overall e-commerce growth and performance. From the 1st half of May, 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, 18% in Norway and 22% in the Netherlands.



The driving force behind the growth for online Fashion is evident: consumers shifting Fashion purchases from brick-and-mortar stores to online channels. Fashion purchases reached its initial peak at +61% (compared to mid-March) during the 2nd half of May. By that time, the segment online Fashion Shoppers grows from 14% to 20% of Norwegian consumers – a dramatic inflow of new consumers into online Fashion. During this period, the share of Heavy online Fashion Shoppers also grew from 5% to 7%. And Fashion purchases in Norway hit its second peak at the end of June at +73% online purchases vs the level at mid-March, when 22% of Norwegian consumers made at least one online purchase in Fashion.



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 at 6%. And these Heavy Fashion Shoppers stand for 51% of all online Fashion purchases in Norway. As the share of online Fashion Shoppers is lower in Norway compared to in Germany and the Netherlands, the purchase development is also more sensitive to small shifts in purchase patterns. This is visible in the August and September fluctuations regarding % change of online Fashion purchases.

Is the September downturn in Fashion purchases a sign of normalization awaiting consumers pick-up in shopping for the upcoming winter season? And how will peak season sales influence online Fashion growth, and what will be the impact of societal (pandemic) measures on purchase development in Norway? Follow our future posts to stay on top of developments.

Norwegian Fashion Shoppers demand not only more flexibility from merchants, but also low prices and a wide assortment

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, Norwegian Fashion Shoppers’ demands on flexible payment options and flexible return options are significantly higher than Non-Fashion Shoppers. And not only that, Norwegian Fashion shoppers also have higher demands on merchants regarding lower prices and a wider assortment of products. Although lower in magnitude, offering specific services to meet the Fashion Shoppers’ needs of flexibility in payment- and return options can differentiate brands from a competitive perspective.



In Germany and the Netherlands, Fashion Shoppers’ satisfaction with merchants underwent some quite dramatic changes in April, as satisfaction with delivery time suffered dramatically. But in Norway, Fashion Shoppers’ satisfaction with merchants has been less affected, probably due to the overall lower share of consumers purchasing Fashion online.

Even though we do see some variations in Fashion Shopper satisfaction over time, the relative satisfaction levels across the main dimensions measued has evened out by the 2nd half of September, which can be interpreted as no single aspect currently underperforming.

What is next?

Stay tuned for an analysis of how consumers’ mobility impacts their online shopping behavior next on AfterPay Insights.