All dressed up but nowhere to go – UK online fashion orders up 363% during November

The total number of UK online fashion orders increased 363 per cent since the start of November, with orders during Cyber Week (Black Friday week) up 159 per cent week-on-week, according to True Fit, a personalisation platform for apparel and footwear retailers.

The data comes as much of the UK spent the month of November in national lockdown or under strict coronavirus restrictions, showing that even the prospect of staying at home and lack of socialising wasn’t going to stop Brits from bagging a fashion bargain.

Web traffic also surged across the Black Friday weekend, with the biggest surge in year-on-year growth taking place on Saturday, up +26 per cent year-on-year, as fashion shoppers made the most of mark-downs, according to data from True Fit’s Fashion Genome the world’s largest connected data set for fashion, which analyses data from 17,000 retail brands and data from 180 million True Fit Members, who are registered shoppers on the platform.

In the run up to Black Friday, surge traffic times peaked in the ‘wee hours’, with Wednesday and Thursday seeing global web visits peaking at 02:54am and 02:36am respectively, as shoppers burnt the midnight oil to snap up bargain fashion buys.  However, on Black Friday itself, UK peak traffic to fashion sites reached its highest point at 8.25pm.

While November orders for fashion were up, average order value (AOV) fluctuated throughout the month.  While AOV reached 2019 levels mid-month, basket sizes dipped year-on-year by 13 per cent during the week of Black Friday.  The reason for this downturn in AOV during Cyber Week, True Fit suggests, is shoppers buying earlier in the month as retailers brought forward discounts and extended Black Friday promotions over a longer period, combined with a dip in UK consumer confidence.

Even outside of Black Friday and traditional end-of-season sales periods, many fashion retailers have continued discounting as a way of stimulating demand.  At the same time, consumers remain cautious about discretionary spend, choosing to shop lower value ticket items, but with more purpose and frequency.  However, while shoppers may be spending less per order, but they are purchasing more frequently and browsing more, proving that the appetite to buy and demand for fashion eCommerce remains.

“While discounting might seem an obvious route to stimulating demand, especially at a time when shoppers are increasingly cautious due to economic uncertainty, long-term retailers need to focus less on markdowns and more on margin protection.  And key to being able to sell more stock at full price is data insights, delivered on an individual, one-to-one customer level.”

“Knowing how that customer shops across product attributes – from size and fit to style – and categories, as well as how they shop outside of your brand, is key to creating the granular level of understanding needed to create engagement around products they will love and keep.  This enables retailers to close what we call the loyalty loop, meaning a virtuous circle of trust that’s built up between a brand and a customer, that drives not just the confidence to buy, but crucially loyalty and customer life-time value.”

Sarah Curran Usher MBE, GM EMEA at True Fit

With demand for online personalisation up as high as 123 per cent since March according to True Fit’s data, the platform added an additional 2.8million members to its database during Cyber 5 this year.

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