Women who consider themselves "stylish" and follow the latest fashions spend three times the average on all apparel, accessory and beauty purchases by female shoppers in the U.S.; this according to a study conducted by Bain & Company in cooperation with Vogue magazine.The study, entitled "Why She Shops: The 2010 Fashion and Beauty Study," surveyed more than 5,000 female shoppers in June 2010 and evaluated 134 apparel, accessory and beauty brands to identify the preferences and purchase behaviors of female consumers and the winning characteristics of the brands that they buy.Counter to last year's relentless focus on price, the study shows that women are focusing on quality and value in 2010. Although the style-conscious are still skeptical about paying full price (11% of those surveyed agreed with the statement, "I usually pay full price."), they are explicitly seeking durability (80% agreed with the statement, "I am willing to pay more for clothing and accessories that will last more than one season."). As a result, the style-conscious woman is disproportionately investing in "classic" styles -- 65% of brands purchased in 2010 versus 35% spent on contemporary brands. "Style conscious women are telling us that they are looking for more classic products than they can find, and that the marketplace has been a bit too slow to let go of younger, trendier looks," said Erika Serow, a Bain Retail Practice partner and lead author of the study. "But brands can win in a variety of ways, as long as they listen deeply to and deliver on the needs of their target audiences."
The "Why She Shops" study reveals, through its 2010 Fashion and Beauty Brand Index, that top brands among the 134 studied succeeded in capturing the interest, spending and loyalty of style-conscious women. The index based on a combination of purchase incidence, share of wallet and brand loyalty lists Express, Victoria's Secret and Banana Republic as tops in the apparel category; Coach, Express and Louis Vuitton in accessories; and Bare Escentuals, Clinique and MAC as the top beauty brands.
Winning brands score three times higher than average on dimensions such as "fits me well" (for apparel), "matches my style," and "trusted / high quality." Notably, the study finds that women in 2010 did not rate "price" as a differentiator. The study also finds that winning brands had substantially higher customer loyalty and advocacy scores. "Big or small, mass or luxury, older or younger, the consistent thread for winning brands is loyalty," added Serow.
The study also found that when it comes to luxury, 15% of style-conscious women account for 70% of luxury spending in apparel, accessories and beauty.
"Understanding the dynamics of how these style-conscious women spend is paramount for brands in the current environment," said Susan Plagemann, VP and Publisher, Vogue. "These women gravitate towards brands that deliver on heritage, sustainability and provenance, which has been a big focus of our clients over the past year," she added.
Style-conscious women can be found both in stores and online. When shopping in stores, they prefer specialty or vertical retailers to typical department stores, spending 55% of their apparel spend and 40% of their accessories spend with specialty retailers. They purchase beauty products at a mix of vertical retailers, mass merchants, and drugstore or grocery retailers. Online, the style-conscious spend nearly twice as much on apparel, accessories and beauty products as the average woman. Despite being much heavier users of mobile and social media than the average population, they are only beginning to use text messages to help them shop (5%), to rely on social networks for shopping ideas (10%), or make purchases from their mobile phones (12%). "There's a tremendous opportunity for brands to win with the style-conscious woman by fine-tuning their products and messaging to her needs. Reaching this audience can have tangible impact both on sales and long-term loyalty. We're especially thrilled to have not only our clients, but the industry as a whole, benefit from these insights," concluded Plagemann.