According to a new report from Mintel, 67% of US women purchased clothing online from retailers in the past year. 35% of Millennial women say social media is one of the top influencers when making clothing purchases. The channel once considered less trustworthy and reliable is now set to change the face of the women’s clothing market, says the report.
The women’s clothing market is expected to increase in sales by 14% through 2019, says the report. Online sales are projected to skyrocket an additional 77% alongside mobile sales. Based on projections, purchases made on a mobile device will comprise 25% of all online sales by 2017. These trends highlight the massive changes in US consumer shopping habits and are an indicator that an even greater percentage of apparel shopping will be conducted online in the future, opines the report.
The study reveals that US social media advertising revenue is projected to hit $15 billion by 2018, including a portion spent by women’s clothing retailers to reach the population of social media users who purchase women’s clothing. 82% of social media users purchased tops in the past year versus 70% of social media non-users.
More traditional methods with which retailers reach consumers are beginning to falter. as social, online and mobile growth offwea more ways to reach consumers, and younger Millennials are more likely to turn to these sources. While 55% of women still consider promotional notices in the mail as a top influencer for purchasing clothing, that number falls to 46% among Millennials age 18-34.
Diana Smith, Senior Retail and Apparel Analyst at Mintel, says “… over three quarters of social media users purchased women’s clothing in the last year... 35% of US women 18-34 point to social media as a key influencer impacting their purchasing decisions… 34% of Millennial women visit sites YouTube… 33% visit Instagram … 71% use Facebook on a daily basis… clothing retailers should harness social media… to engage these impressionable, influential and savvy shoppers…”
While the most commonly purchased items of women’s clothing remain tops/T-shirts (65%) and jeans (54%), the apparel industry is being impacted by an overall increase and acceptability of casualization. An area of significant growth is “athleisurewear” or fitness clothing that is being worn for casual purposes. The top reason for buying fitness clothing is to wear it for casual purposes, say 38% of the respondents.
Smith noted that “… casualization and the growth of athleisurewear have strongly affected the women’s clothing market… over half of the women responding say that comfort is more important to them than what’s in style… the athleisurewear trend is spreading across demographics… celebrities are sporting it… high-end fashion designers are devoting entire product lines… “
53% of women aged 18-24 claim to enjoy shopping for clothes compared to 40% of all women, says the report. 92% of female Millennials purchased items in the past year, the most of any generation. According to the study, 42% of women prefer to shop alone, though Millennial women are most likely to view shopping as a fun, social experience to enjoy with friends (only 28% prefer to shop alone), while women 55+ prefer shopping alone.
Women are just as likely to buy clothing as a treat or reward as they are to make an impulse purchase (29%), says the report. And, over the past three months, US men spent an average of $225 on women’s clothing. That is only 17% less than the overall amount women spent on clothing for themselves during the same time period.
Finally, according to data, 43% of US women tend to favor a few stores for purchasing clothes, largely due to the confidence in knowing that the clothes will fit.
For more from Mintel, and access to the report, please visit here.