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Fashion-Forward Shoppers Spend More, Swayed by Social Media

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Consumers who describe themselves as "Fashion Forward" are at least twice as likely as other consumers to spend more on a wide range of consumer products, including apparel, and are most likely to refer friends and colleagues to their preferred retailers, according to a survey from Acxiom.

Two-thirds of such trendy consumers are Millennials (AKA Gen Y, those now roughly age 18-33) and are most influenced by new media channels when making their buying decisions.

Media Influences

The most influential "new media" channels for reaching all apparel shoppers are the well-established ones: Email (25%), Internet advertising (19%), and word-of-mouth (34%).

Millennials, however, are more likely to be influenced by those channels: Email (32%), Internet advertising (27%), and word-of-mouth (39%).


Emerging channels, such as instant messaging via computer and mobile marketing (both video and text messaging) have not yet reached the same levels of influence. Other than video via mobile device, no such emerging channel offers the potential of product visuals, which is valuable in marketing a fashion-oriented product.

In contrast, buyers of electronics goods are more influenced by word-of-mouth, blogging, and mobile marketing, possibly because such consumers are more interested in product features, functions, and benefits, all of which are easily communicated via text.

Below, other findings from the Acxiom Retail Consumer Dynamics Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

Fashion-Forward Shoppers

An analysis of self-reported shopping preferences among surveyed consumers revealed three distinct segments:

  1. 16% are Fashion-Forward consumers, those who seek the newest trends and styles.
  2. 34% are Conservative/Traditional, those who prefer traditional apparel styles.
  3. 50% are Value-Driven, those who prefer value and comfort over style.

Over one-third of surveyed Millennials (37%) say they are Fashion Forward consumers, compared with 17% of Gen-X consumers and just 7% of Boomers.


Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.


Fashion-Forward Spending Attitudes Benefit Retailers

Fashion-Forward consumers are over twice as likely as other consumers to "think it's time to start spending" across a wide range of consumer items, such as electronics, apparel, CDs/DVDs/videos/books, and dining out.

Moreover, 73% of Fashion-Forward consumers plan to spend at least the same or more on casual clothing in the next 90 days whereas just 61% of Value-Driven consumers plan to do the same.

Fashion-Forward women spend significantly more per month on apparel than other women:

  • Fashion-Forward women spend 1.7 times more than Conservative/Traditional women on apparel: $65.92 vs. $39.67 per month.
  • Fashion-Forward women spend 2.7 times more than Value-Driven women on apparel: $65.92 vs. $24.07.

Accordingly, even though Conservative/Traditional women outnumber Fashion-Forward women 2 to 1, and Value-Driven women outnumber Fashion-Forward women 3 to 1, Fashion-Forward women constitute nearly as large a share of women's apparel purchases as each of the other segments.

More Fashion-Forward women (53%) recommend a store for women's apparel to their friends and colleagues than do Conservative/Traditional women (39%) and Value-Driven women (36%).

About the data: Findings are from a survey conducted by BIGresearch for Acxiom in April 2010 among 8,197 adults (18+).  Media Influence observations are based on the semi-annual BIGresearch SIMM Survey completed in December 2009.


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