Plus Size Fashion Continues to Grow

November 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

SHEVA-Ashley-TiptonIt’s no secret that the average American woman is a size 14. And it seems that American fashion is beginning to take note.

Several things have happened recently to amp up the plus size movement.  Project Runway celebrated its first plus size fashion designer win last week.  Ashley Tipton is only the second designer on the show who has specialized in plus sizes.  Her unique collection celebrated her Mexican heritage, a nod to Frida Kahlo and a fashion forward plus look.  Recently Melissa McCarthy launched her own clothing line which is carried at retailers like Nordstrom’s and shopping network HSN.

According to market research firm NPD group, sales of plus-size clothes grew five percent in 2014, making it a $17.5 billion industry.  What’s more the study defined ‘plus-size’ as U.S. size 18 and up, whereas in the fashion industry it starts at size 14, meaning the growth may well have been significantly larger.

Over the past two years, plus-size sales within the e-commerce category have grown 31%.  Online shopping seems to take a larger share of plus size shopping. Even traditional retailers have more plus size options online.

The Opportunity

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Most plus-size women feel that their body size is not sufficiently represented in fashion and retail.  A recent study from ModCloth found that 46% of plus-size women ‘never or rarely’ find clothing that flatters their body.
The online retailer surveyed more than 1,500 women to determine how they feel about the current state of the plus-size market.  They found that most women are dissatisfied. Some 81%  said they would spend more on clothing if there were more options available in their size.

 

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Marketing to Women: Tipping Point for 2014 Holiday Shopping

October 21, 2014 § 1 Comment

Tablet_Santa_Running_300_jpg_280x280_crop_q95The 2014 holiday shopping season will be a tipping point for online shopping.  A PwC report finds that 41% of shoppers plan to spend more online this year than they did last year.  In fact, more than two-thirds of today’s shoppers are omnichannel, easily shifting between their mobile technology and physical stores. There are conflicting reports on the size of this year’s holiday spending.  The National Retail Federation is calling for holiday sales to rise 4.1%, the largest jump in three years.  Online sales are expected to grow between 8-11%.  PwC is not so optimistic, calling for an actual decrease in spending.

While you may think millennials are doing a lot of this online shopping, think again.  Millennials only represent 18% of planned spending.  It’s GenX and Boomer shoppers who will be leading the charge.

Estimates point to 43% of all spending will be online with 40% of consumers falling into a category called trade-off shoppers.  Trade-off shoppers will do most of their research online and will buy online if the product is cheaper than in stores; another 32% are considered primary online shoppers; and 29% of shoppers will prefer going to the stores, after a little online browsing.  Actual spending in-store will decrease from 55% in 2013 to 50% this year, but the individuals shopping in-store are likely to spend more. One important consideration is the whopping 15+ hours shoppers spend online researching purchases.  Consider what that means for product descriptions, photography and selection.

Four Waves of Spending

The coming holiday season will have only 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas, just one more than last year and five fewer than 2012.  That is important for all retailers as the compare same store sales. Black Friday is the #1 in-store shopping day during the holiday season. The next most important dates, according to a 2013 MasterCard SpendingPulse report, are December 21 and 23. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the most popular days for online shopping, and Fridays and Saturdays are the top days overall for in-store holiday shopping. There are four distinct time periods for spending this year – Pre-Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Mid-Holiday, and Post-Holiday.  Early shopping represents 21% of all holiday spending.  The week of Black Friday will represent 21% of spending.  Mid-Holiday is the traditional December shopping period where 50% of spending happens, with much of it in the last ten days before Christmas.  And those bargain shoppers are 8% of the shopping dollars.

What Do People Want for the Holidays?

According to the National Retail Federation, for the eighth year in a row,  gift cards will be the most requested gift item for the holidays.  Sixty-two percent say they would like to receive a gift card, followed by clothing (52.5%), books, CDs, DVDs or video games (43.1%), and electronics (34.6%). And one-quarter (24.8%) would like to receive jewelry.

How to Be Prepared This Season

There are some important ways you can help this season’s shoppers.

1.  Embrace online connectivity.  Online experience means both your online presence but your connectedness in-store.  Make sure Wi-Fi is available and sales staff are available with mobile devices to check out your customers.  Make sure your cybersecurity is up-to-date.  And make sure your online shopping is easy to navigate, informative and provides simple check-out.  One-quarter of shoppers say easy-to-use mobile websites is an important factor in their decision to shop with a specific retailer, and 40% of Black Friday online shopping was mobile.  And don’t forget free shipping.  It is more important than the delivery date.

2. Create a differentiated in-store experience.  Make sure your store personnel are knowledgeable, your merchandise is in-stock and easy to shop, the atmosphere is festive friendly, and your merchandising is distinctive and memorable.  Think about personalization and special add-on services that simplify the gifting experience.

3.  Make sure your offerings represent value.  Shoppers still have a deal mindset based on best prices and seasonal deals, so your innovation, unique selections, bundling and convenient shopping experience will be important to take you from a commodity purchase to a brand purchase.  Special deals will continue to be important to drive shoppers to your store.  Reward your best customers with special perks for shopping with you.

4.  Provide messaging consistent with your brand.  A consistent promotional look and feel that reflects your brand is important in creating greater impact with your customer.

Five Things to Know About 2014 Back-to-School Marketing

July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

UnknownBack-to-school is in full swing now.  The traditional back-to-school season has changed and marketers need to make note.  The reason for many of these changes are year-round school schedules, just-in-time shopping, online shopping habits and budgets.  The back-to-school season has become more of a pinnacle of an ongoing activity than a confined season.

How big is back-to-school?  The average family will spend $670 on shopping this year, up 5% from 2013 according to the National Retail Federation.   However, 21% of families with children in elementary, middle school or high school reported in a NRF survey they will spend less this year.

Did you know?  Combined school and college spending was estimated at $72.5 billion, making it the second-biggest season for retailers. Winter holiday ranks first at $84 billion and Mother’s Day comes in at third at $21 billion.

Here are five things to know about this year.

1.  Back-to-school shopping starts in July.  Americans began their search as early as June last year.  Google conducted a study during the 2013 season and found that 23% of respondents began back-to-school research before July 4, with nearly two-thirds (65%) starting by the end of July. In contrast, only 35% said they made a purchase by the end of July.  174621

BTS-Content-ConsumptionThe spending is spread out over several months, with traditional spending in August and September.  The early shoppers take advantage fresh merchandise, early bird sales and comparison shopping, while the later shoppers are necessity shopping and maybe taking advantage of end-of-season sales.

One difference in the early and traditional shopper may be their form of shopping.  The early shoppers are using their desktop and tablets to shop, while the more traditional are using mobile devices and shopping in-store.

During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012.  There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.

2.  Just in time shopping.   The mall has been replaced by online and teens are constantly shopping for new ideas.  The world of disposable fashion has lead teens to take advantage of affordable retailers and wait to see what their friends are wearing.  Digital-native students are shopping constantly throughout the year, even if they’re not buying.

Just-in-time shopping also shows that as many as 50% parents only buy what is essential for back to school and then buy additional needs during the holiday season, when they expect the best deals.  It is a way of spreading out the shopping expense to make it more manageable for their budget.  And parents are saving money by buying store-brand items, shopping sales and using coupons.

3. Online is #3 destination.   eMarketer forecasts that digital sales for the back-to-school season will increase 16.0% in 2014.  One-third of all back-to-school shoppers will make an online purchase, and 45% of back-to-college shoppers will head online.  According to Deloitte, among top back-to-school shopping destinations in 2013, 36 percent of consumers shopped online, moving online shopping to the third destination behind discount and office supply/technology stores, a significant jump from the No. 8 position in 2012.

9754-1652-140701-Back_to_School-l4.  College Online Spending Big.  More than $3 of every $5 aimed at back-to-school clothes and supplies is spent on college-bound students.   A PM Digital report shows online shoppers stealing 37% of this market as the online college segment spends over $1,100 per family.  In fact, shopping expenditures are higher online – with 37.3% K-12 and 37.1% college students buying through e-commerce.

5.  Smartphone Tool for Shopping.  During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012. There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.

What should marketers do this season?

1.  Make sure your campaigns are live now and active through September.  To stand out, thing about using video and consumer stories to help tell the story.  Search should be already in place.

2.  Make sure content is available on tablet and mobile.  Don’t forget social. Hashtags like #stapleshasit and L.L.Bean’s #packmentality, which leapt from social media into display, email and print last season, will proliferate in 2014.

3.  Solicit stories from your customers to drive positive reviews.

4.  Time your sales (early-bird and end of season) to match buying periods.

5.  Differentiate between back-to-school and back-to-college.

 

 

Marketing to Women: Is the Lunch Hour Dead?

May 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

lunch timeAs I was munching on my McDonald’s salad at my desk today, I started wondering about the fate of lunch in America.  I certainly don’t seem to break for lunch as often as I used to.  In fact, the phrase lunch hour is even misleading.  In a recent study , 48% of employees say that the typical lunch break is 30 minutes or less.  And in another study by Staples, 19% of employees say they don’t stop for lunch at all.  In 2010, Monster found that more than 20 percent of workers say they always eat lunch at their desks.

The lunch “break” has turned into a time for errands, online shopping, more work and maybe a quick bite.  Here are some of the reasons behind these trends.

•  The recession spawned a cutback in personal and business spending.  And currently the IRS only allows 50% of entertainment expenses.  With a focus on productivity, some employees feel pressure to work more and don’t feel they have time for lunch.

•  Working women have a lot of tasks to accomplish.  Any given day may include errands, online shopping, haircuts and a quick bite.  Working moms are 13% more likely to have spent $2500+ on internet purchases, 10% more likely to do their banking online and they own almost every mobile device technology that allows them to shop.

•  Lunch hour shopping trends show 84% of moms shop 15 minutes or more a day at work.  And most of that shopping happens between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Some 43% of female workers say they did their holiday shopping online while at work, compared to only 35% of male workers.  Not surprisingly,  21% of back to school shopping happens online.  Woman shoppers use the time as a welcome break from their office routine and would rather shop online than go to a mall.

Some categories have benefitted from this trend.  Certainly online shopping of all kinds has prospered.  Retailers see rising traffic during the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. period and some are creating two-hour “stop, drop and shop” promotions during that lunch window.  Grocery stores have embraced the trend with more “grab and go” lunch foods.  According to market researcher NPD Group, grocers have seen their lunchtime purchases of prepared food like sandwiches and salads jump by 28% since 2008.  And fast casual restaurants like Panera and Chipotle provide high quality food options with a lower time commitment.  There is also a trend to wanting snacks at all times to tide workers over to dinner time.

In the world of advertising and marketing, the three martini lunches were legend.  Gerald Ford said, “The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?”  While some still remember those long lost “Mad Men” three martini lunches fondly, in retrospect, they seem indulgent and luxurious.  Time might have been the true luxury. Maybe those lunches were not very productive, but they did provide opportunity for marketers and clients to know each other better.  Maybe we have traded the martini for the macchiato, but that coffee with a client might be a great time to really talk, listen to each other and share ideas freely.  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Marketing to Working Moms: New Scarborough Study!

January 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

Working Moms may have had a “pink collar” image in former generations, but today’s working mom is quite a different person.  They are more educated,  more affluent and more wired than ever before.  Working Moms represent 40% of moms.

Scarborough has surveyed this group and come up with some interesting statistics that marketers need to market to women, particularly working moms.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite.   For more, see the infographic below.

95% of working moms agree that spending time with their family is their top priority

27% of working moms are much more involved in their finances.  

72% of their households contributed to a charity in the past 12 months.

Working moms are spending less for name brands.  They use coupons and shop at Nordstrom Rack, Kohl’s Macy’s and TJ Maxx Home Goods.  

Working moms shop online and own smartphones, laptops, iPads and more.

Working moms are 22% more likely to attend professional sporting events and 24% more likely to have watched ESPN in the past 7 days.

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Holiday Marketing to Women: 5 Things You Need to Know This Year!

December 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

santa_good_boys_girls‘Tis the season of lists so I thought that we might make a list of important learning from this Holiday Season of Marketing so that we could use it all next year.  So here is my list.  Feel free to add your learnings to the list.

1.  Pinterest is the thing of Sugar Plums and Dreams.  This female-focused audience is now 70 million strong and retailers need a Pinterest strategy.  Holidays, DIY and Recipes are some of the top searches on Pinterest.  And 47.7 percent of shoppers say that Pinterest content has inspired holiday gift purchases.  Here’s an amazing fact – Amazon has been among the most popular holiday season e-retailers for passed-along Pinterest content, drawing more than 16,300 pins/shares a week since Thanksgiving, per Searchmetrics’ research.  Walmart is second and Apple is third.

2.  Gift guides are an important sales tool.  Some of the most-opened emails during the holiday season are gift guides.  Use your imagination for special groups, categories and price ranges.  Also popular are gift guides for gifts under a certain price like $50 or $100.  Pinterest would be a great place to create gift guides.

3.  It’s online!  Black Friday gave way to early Thanksgiving openings and Cyber Monday.  These shopping holidays saw some new trends this year.  Seventeen (17%) of consumers are expecting to increase their online purchases this year, including 2o% among more affluent households. For the first time, more consumers will shop online (47%) than at discount/value department stores (44%).  While consumers did more of their pre-Thanksgiving shopping at online retailers than at mass merchants or department stores, they will do more last-minute shopping at mass merchants and department stores (presumably because they won’t have time to wait for the shipping). (Integer Group, M/A/R/C Research.)  Oh, and there’s a new term to learn – Green Monday (the Monday with at least 10 days until Christmas).

4.  Price checking abounds and Amazon is a clear leader in online shopping.  Some 87% of consumers agree that they will always check Amazon before making most online purchases (MarketLive/e-tailing group.)  Retailers’ sales and promotions are the most likely factor to influence shoppers’ holiday spending (44%), ahead of household expenses (27%) and existing debt obligations (14%). (Discover).

5.  Free shipping is now the standard;  7 in 10 shoppers expect free shipping online, and 47% expect free returns. (Deloitte.)

Bonus Trend:  One third of holiday shoppers will be buying gifts for themselves this year, while spending the rest of the budget on friends and family.  However, holiday shoppers value generosity and social consciousness from their favorite brands.

There are only ten days left until Christmas.  Make the time count – smile more, laugh more, treasure the time and be generous of spirit during these last days before Christmas.

Holiday Marketing to Women: 43% of Women Shop Online at Work

December 10, 2013 § 1 Comment

Christmas Video ChatWomen are the holiday multi-taskers so it’s no surprise that 43% of female workers say they have holiday shopped online while at work, according to the new CareerBuilder CyberMonday study.  Jennifer Sullivan Grasz from CareerBuilder reports only 35% of male workers are also holiday shopping online.

CyberMonday shoppers work too!

Over half (54 percent) of all workers expect to be shopping online for the holidays.  Many of those will be planning to spend the time during lunch or during breaks.  The survey finds that one in five workers will spend between one and three hours browsing Internet deals from the office over the course of the holiday season and 10 percent will spend 3 hours or more; a quarter report just planning to spend an hour or less.

Back in 2010, we reported on a similar study that found that 40% of female workers 18-54 said they shopped online, and a whopping 84% of moms said they spent 15 minutes or more daily shopping.  And emails were a definite trigger for with 60% responding to email offers.

Workers are responding to lots of holiday emails.

No wonder we are responding to emails.   Some 28 percent of all emails are sent during the holiday season.  In fact, every brand is sending consumers an average of six emails, up from five last year.  Experian says that email accounts for nearly 3 percent of website visits (ahead of social) and higher conversions (3.58 percent) than search (2.49 percent) and social (.71 percent) combined. Oh, and don’t forget –  half of all emails are now read on mobile devices.

Email tips for marketers.

For marketers, we need to take all of this in consideration and start planning early.  Some of the important considerations are:

1.  Test emails and offers for effectiveness.

2.  Test timing of emails.  Weekends versus weekdays may yield different results.  By the way, half of all working women do their shopping between 11 am and 2 pm.

3.  Make sure your subject lines are appealing and stand out to your consumers.  Subject lines are where most people make a decision to unsubscribe.

4.  Help your customer with gift guides.  According to Experian, gift guide emails experience 48% higher transaction rates than normal promotion emails.

4.  Look for new ways to build your list and reach new people.

5.  Be more personal. Address your customer by name or tailor the message to your geography, weather or preferences.

6.  Use re-targeting and abandoned cart messages.

7.  Make sure you are optimized for mobile.

The CareerBuilder survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,484 U.S. workers and 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between August 13 and September 6, 2013.

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