Back-to-School Shopping Trends: VIDEO is KEY to Retail Clothing Sales for 2012 [Study]

Back-to-School Shopping Trends: VIDEO is KEY to Retail Clothing Sales for 2012 [Study]

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New research from Google and Compete on back to school shopping trends in 2012 has found just how profoundly mobile and video have changed the shopping landscape for clothing and apparel. Here are a few highlights:

  • More than 20% apparel consumers use their tablets or mobile devices to shop on a daily basis.
  • 4 in 10 shoppers visited a store online or in-person as a direct result of watching a video online.
  • Today, nearly 1 in 3 shoppers use YouTube to shop for apparel.

Todd Pollak, Industry Director, Retail, Google, posted a summary of the findings on the Google Retail Advertising Blog.

I know, I know, it’s hard to monitor all the news from Google, which can be found on 185 official Google Twitter accounts, 173 official Google blogs, 106 official Google YouTube channels, 87 official Google+ pages, and 26 official Google Facebook pages. But, that’s why you read ReelSEO.

So, what’s the net-net of this new study?

>50% Retail Clothing Sales will be Online-Influenced in 2012

For starters, shopping is no longer limited to the mall these days. If you’re armed with a smartphone, every moment is now a shopping opportunity – whether you are at home (or work), on the road, or even doing research while in the store.

As retailers gear up for this month’s back-to-school shopping crunch, Google and Compete took to “the digital Main Street” to find out how consumer shopping patterns have changed. Focusing on apparel shopping, they analyzed consumer shopping behavior from the point of sale backward, and surveyed apparel shoppers to understand the latest shopping trends.

Google and Compete found that not only is online research playing an integral role than in both online and in-store purchases, consumers are increasingly shopping on their mobile devices and using online video to inform purchase decisions.

Online Video Drives Apparel Shopping Sales -> In-Store & Online

Obviously, aspects such as fit and quality – easily apparent in person – become harder to grasp when shopping online. Nevertheless, video has now filled the role as the virtual fitting room, enabling shoppers to hear personal opinions and reviews, and see the product in motion.

In fact, video has become so influential that 4 in 10 shoppers visited a store online or in-person as a direct result of watching a video. Today, nearly 1 in 3 shoppers use YouTube to shop for apparel.

So it’s no surprise that video ads top traditional media in encouraging purchases. And 34% of apparel shoppers are more likely to purchase after viewing an online video ad, versus 16% after watching an ad on TV.

Mobile Devices Aid Brand Discovery

The study also found that mobile shopping is not a sporadic activity limited to weekend trips to the mall. It’s constant and pervasive.

More than 1 in 5 apparel consumers are using their tablets or mobile devices on a daily basis for shopping. People are shopping on their mobile devices throughout all parts of the day – and not just while on-the-go. More than 69% of consumers shopped on their phone or tablet while at home, 31% while in a store, 28% while waiting in line, and 27% while at work.

People are using their mobile devices as shopping assistants by informing purchase decisions and helping them locate the best deal. Of the people who shop on their mobile device, 56% compare prices and look for promotions, 42% read reviews, 38% search inventory, 16% scan bar code while in store, and 13% contact the retailer.

Online Video is Key for Younger Shoppers

Millennials (the generation born from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s that is now 18-34 years old) are twice as likely as other age groups to rely on a video to decide which company to purchase from. And Millennials are regularly turning to YouTube for shopping advice.

YouTube vloggers posting their latest shopping finds aren’t just sharing their recommendations with close friends. They’re sharing them with huge audiences. For example, MacBarbie07, a teenage vlogger (bethanyslife) and popular YouTube partner, has more than 761,000 subscribers and 103 million video views of her beauty and fashion tips.

For example, check out her latest video, “DIY: Bow back top – Renovate your old shirts!

And there are nearly 600,000 shopping “haul” videos on YouTube, more than 35,000 of which were uploaded within the last month alone. This includes one from MacBarbie07, which is entitled, “Clothing haul! Pacsun, H&M, Urban Outfitters & Cotton on!!

I know, I know, I’m not the target demographic for a teenage girl’s beauty and fashion tips. And I also had a tough time explaining to my wife why I was watching these videos so that I could analyze them for ReelSEO readers. (It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.)

Mobile & Video Shoppers are VERY Valuable Customers

People who shop on their mobile devices and research with video tend to not only spend more on average purchases, but do so more frequently.

Google and Compete found that 1 in 4 video researchers purchased apparel more than 6 times in the past 6 months (versus 16% of non-video researchers). And 28% of video researchers spent more than $500 on apparel in the past 6 months, while only 2% of non-video researchers did.

Oh, one last tip: If you’re reading this column at work, you might want to skip over the two embedded videos. You may have a tough time explaining to your boss why you’re watching fashion tips or “haul” videos when you are being paid to analyze back to school shopping trends.

These are just the highlights. You can read the complete study “The Role of Digital in the Apparel Shopper Path to Purchase” below:


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