I’m excited to announce that I was asked to contribute to Retail Touchpoints’ 2013 Outlook Guide on behalf of BIGinsight™ and below is our article. To view the full Guide, which includes contributions from 13 retail industry experts — including well-known analysts, consultants and researchers, and one retailer – please click here.
The economic crisis that rocked our country nearly five years ago has clearly left its mark on today’s consumers. Gone are the days of excess when shoppers would spend now and worry later about paying for their purchases. The “new normal” mindset mandates that consumers think twice about their purchases, spend when necessary, and scrimp and save at every corner. While the fiscal responsibility we’re seeing now is necessary for the long-term health of our still-fragile economy, retailing as we know it has become an increasingly competitive landscape with merchants vying for a share of this shrinking wallet.
The challenge for retailers now is to attract customers, get them into their stores (or online), and keep them there through the checkout. In this new economy, it’s imperative that retailers create marketing communications plans that integrate both new media and more traditional outlets in a manner that speaks to their core customers effectively and efficiently. With this in mind, BIGinsight identified three media trends influencing consumer purchases within the very competitive apparel category.
The Waning Influence of Traditional Media
While consumers indicate that the top ten types of media that influence their apparel purchases are of the more traditional variety, half of these media have declined in influence over a two year period, while others are showing slow or no growth. With circulation rates slipping, it may come as no surprise that the effectiveness of newspapers (Index* to June 2010 = 83) and advertising inserts (Index = 85) are facing the steepest declines. Other forms of print media are suffering as well; the influence of magazines and direct mail has diminished 5% for each over a 24 month time period. Today’s budget-minded consumers appear to be keeping the influence of instore promotions and coupons afloat, while TV, email, and internet advertising have remained relatively stable as well.
Trending UPward: Social Media, Mobile, and Blogs
While the various forms of mobile and social media don’t appear within the top ten media influencers for apparel, their pull among clothing shoppers has become much stronger over the past two years. In fact, the influence of mobile devices on apparel purchases has increased 130% over June 2010! Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has increased nearly 40%, while blogs (Index* to June 2010 = 140), videos on mobile devices (Index = 143), and text messaging on mobile devices (Index = 133) have realized double-digit growth as well.
New Media Growth: Millennials are in the Driver’s Seat
The Millennial generation (born between 1983 and 1993) is quite literally the driving force behind the growth of influence of mobile and social media on apparel purchases. Compared to the average consumer (Adults 18+), Millennials are more than twice as likely to indicate that videos on mobile devices (Index* to Adults 18+ = 247) influence their clothing expenditures. Blogs (Index = 238) and text messages on mobile devices (Index = 213) are highly influential with this younger group of consumers, as are social media (Index = 188) and mobile devices in general (Index = 195).
While the economic downturn certainly shoulders much of the responsibility for the new consumer, we also must consider the impact of new technology as a changing force behind evolving shopper behavior. While still relatively small, the growing influence of mobile and social media on purchases cannot be ignored by retailers. Today’s smart shoppers are tapping into a wide variety of media for product information, reviews, availability, sales/promotions, and pricing. Knowing your customers and the types of media to which they adhere are key to developing a successful marketing strategy in the increasingly competitive retail environment.
To view the full 2013 Outlook Guide from Retail Touchpoints, click here.
* Index of 100 is flat, while an index of 105 [or 95] indicates that a figure is 5% higher [or lower] than the comparative figure.
© 2013, Prosper®
BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development
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