Are Online Retailers Missing Out On Opportunities To Attract Male Shoppers?

A new report into the UK’s biggest fashion spenders has highlighted a window of opportunity for brands looking to attract male consumers online.

The inaugural StrawPoll released by luxury media agency Cream, provides detailed insight into the consumer behaviour of this highly influential group of UK shoppers and reveals habits that brands hoping to attract this vital consumer group would do well to consider when fine tuning their ecommerce strategy.

The study based on UK consumers spending over £100 a month on clothes and accessories represents a mere 15% of all Uk shoppers, yet this small but powerful group accounts for a third of the UK’s total £48 bn spend in this sector.

Clearly with this kind of influence, a failure to attract these shoppers can make or break brands operating both on the high street and online.

Shifra Cook, Strategy Director, at Cream told TFOL “StrawPoll gives us the first detailed look at the fashion sector’s biggest buyers. With their massive, regular investment in the latest looks 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.  This research should be a big wake up call for any brand that hasn’t sorted out its mobile retail offering”.

Here are TFOL’s StrawPoll takeaways for brands looking to capitalise on ecommerce opportunities:

Who are these consumers?
The first wave of StrawPoll research reveals that consumers in this group are 64% female, 36% male and are clustered around London, the north-west of England and the Midlands. Those in the 25-34 age range feature most prominently and have a significantly higher than average household income with 19% of the group earning more than £150,000.

What’s their online shopping behaviour?
As frequent shoppers both online and on the high street they spend more than twice the national average time browsing the category online, with nearly 6% spending more than 20 hours a month. In store they will spend an average of five-and-a-half hours looking for the latest must-haves. Significantly they are 42% more likely to shop online than the national average, citing the convenience and time-saving nature of such platforms.

What devices do they use to shop digitally?
They have more devices than average consumers, especially tablets and smartphones and are significantly more likely to browse retailer platforms using these devices. StrawPoll fashion lovers are 51% and 62% more likely to purchase via tablet and smartphone respectively. By spending a significant amount of time browsing via PC, mobile and tablet, consumers in this group index more than 100% higher than the national average on all three measures.

What are their  favourite brands?
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.

What can we tell about the online shopping habits of consumers spending more than £200 per month?
‘Super spenders’, those spending more than £200 a month, are twice as likely to be male than female and browse their tablet or smartphone for potential new purchases at least once a week.

What media influences them?
Not surprisingly these are consumers who trust magazines, particularly glossy magazines such as Glamour, Cosmo and Marie Claire. 40% of this group voted for magazines compared to a national average of just 26%. Nationally, consumers are more likely to trust TV. They are also significantly more likely to trust mobile text messages, Facebook advertising, Twitter advertising and online advertising in general.

Where are the missed opportunities for retailers?
Despite the proliferation of sites serving young women, brands are missing a chance to reach out to men who find shopping for 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 admitting they only do it when they have to, despite their significant spend.

How can brands improve the online shopping experience?

Recommendation and Personalisation
Consumers expect 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.

Mobile Optimised Content and Mobile User Experience
Many fashion brands have some way to go in delivering the on-the-go shopping experience that this group of heavy tablet and smartphone require. These consumers have a high level of expectation and even a mobile optimised 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.



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