Cream's StrawPoll uncovers fashion’s biggest spenders

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Cream's StrawPoll uncovers fashion’s biggest spenders and identifies key opportunities for male online outlets - traditional stores still behind in adapting to digital.

Cream, the UK’s No 1 specialist media agency for premium brands, has launched a new survey of the UK’s most important fashion consumers called StrawPoll.

Focusing on consumers who spend more than £100 a month on clothes and accessories, the study will provide detailed understanding of the shopping and media behaviour.

This group is vital to fashion brands because although they represent 15% of all shoppers, they account for an incredible third of the UK’s total £48bn sector spend. Failure to attract these shoppers can be make or break for brands operating on the high street and online.

The opinions, shopping and media habits of these crucial consumers will be tracked on a thrice-yearly basis. A panel of 850 consumers will provide on-going insight into their behaviour that can be compared to a nationally representative sample to help Cream clients identify the media and strategic opportunities that could boost their businesses.

The first wave of StrawPoll research has revealed that these consumers are clustered around London, the Midlands and the North-West. They are significantly more likely to shop online, browse the sector more frequently and are more than 50% more likely to use tablets and smartphones to purchase clothing and accessories.

They are also continuing to back their fashion habit with 25% spending more than last year and 44% saying they have spent about the same.

Of the 78 brands included in the survey, the top five for purchase intent were (in alphabetical order) H&M, Lacoste, Monsoon, River Island and Tiffany for those spending £100-£150 a month.

Among StrawPoll panellists spending more than £200 a month, the top five by purchase intent were (in alphabetical order) Burberry, Cartier, Diesel, Pandora and Tiffany.

Critically for fashion brands, however, the results of the first wave of StrawPoll also indicate two missed opportunities for traditional retailers as they attempt to withstand the impact of the online specialists.

The first area is the missed opportunity for male-targeted shoppers. Big spending males are more likely to make their purchases online than in the high street, in fact they are 37% more likely to visit the digital high street as opposed to a shopping mall.

Despite the proliferation of sites serving young women, brands are missing a chance to reach out to men who find fashion a bit of a chore (despite their heavy spending in the category).

Male online shopping spikes for both 18-24-year-old men and 35-44-year-old men with 20% among the latter admitted they only do it when they have to, despite their significant spend.

Our qualitative work indicates that consumers also expect all fashion brands to offer the same functionality and recommendation as offered by the biggest e-commerce players, such as Tesco and Amazon.

This includes the recommendations based on previous purchase history and suggestions of items that match with their chosen purchases.

Fashion players also have some way to go in delivering the on-the-go shopping experience that this group of heavy tablet and smartphone users. These consumers have a high level of expectation and even a mobile optimized site is now regarded as a basic must have.

Poor usability on mobile such as having to enter card details on a small type pad, for example, is one factor cited as a major deterrent from making a purchase on the go.

“StrawPoll gives us the first detailed look at the fashion sector’s biggest buyers. With their massive, regular investment in the latest looks and gear, these are the consumers that all fashion brands need to attract into their digital and physical outlets. Understanding how and where they shop and what influences those choices is critical to business success in this sector and the first wave of research should be a big wake up call for any brand that hasn’t sorted out its mobile retail offering,” said Shifra Cook, Strategy Director, at Cream.

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Theresa Houlihan
Cream UK
+44 20 8247 1869
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