Smartphone Shoppers boosting High Street Fashion Sales says BRC

Posted on 1 May, 2015 by Kirsten Kennedy

As retailers continue to embrace omni-channel methods, they are beginning to reap the benefits with a corresponding boost in sales. While competition from online retailers such as ASOS and Amazon continues to be high, initiatives such as click and collect have helped to narrow the gap and have correspondingly led to the resurgence of high street fashion sales.

Happy woman holding shopping bags smiling and holding cell phone

In the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC)/Google Online Retail Monitor for the first quarter of 2015, it was discovered that consumers are increasingly choosing to utilise their smartphones or tablet computers when shopping for new clothing. Compared to the first three months of the year in 2014, the number of searches for clothing items rose by 54 per cent, indicating that consumers are now more interested in spending on luxuries.

Director General of the BRC, Helen Dickinson, believes that this trend could prove exceptionally useful for brands seeking to expand their operations overseas in the near future.

She says; “The latest BRC-Google figures show that UK consumers are making greater use than ever of handheld devices to shop online, particularly where it comes to buying clothes.

“The number of people using their smartphone to search for apparel is up by 54 per cent compared to year ago, while tablet searches over the same period are up by 11 per cent.

“This trend also applies, however, to shoppers abroad, with a 10 per cent rise compared to last year in the number of consumers in other countries searching online for UK apparel.”

By tracking the top trending searches on a monthly basis, the BRC and Google have managed to identify a number of seasonal trends in shopper behaviour which they believe may assist retailers seeking to utilise their online operations to drive sales in future.

Early in the quarter, for example, consumers drove searches for fitness, sports and wellbeing related apparel in a bid to keep up with New Year resolutions, while as the quarter progressed and the weather warmed up searches for dresses, bridesmaid clothing and bikinis became more popular – clearly, the upcoming summer holidays and wedding season are currently playing strongly in the minds of consumers.

Google retail director Peter Fitzgerald believes that mobile technology and a greater reliance upon omni-channel initiatives are the greatest drivers of growth within fashion retailing at present.

He continues; “Multichannel retailers had a strong Q1, growing at 42 per cent year on year, reflecting the increasing trend we see in the UK toward click and collect services.

“Consumers value the convenience of in-store collection, and particularly for apparel, the ability to easily return goods to store.

“Finally, the New Year saw an increase in sports and fitness apparel searches as Brits turn over a new leaf and focus on their health – looking at the top queries we can see that wedding season is under way with engagement rings and wedding dresses trending on mobile devices.”

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