Fashion products are the second most popular category of online purchasing (after Entertainment) by Australians according to Roy Morgan Research, with 7.6% of people aged 14+ making at least one online fashion purchase every four weeks.
In fact, Australians enjoy online fashion shopping so much that British online fashion retailer ASOS has revealed that Australia is its single largest foreign market, with Australians buying something from their website every 6 seconds. In recent months, fashion giants such as Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom have also opened up purchases to Australians – as have individual designer houses either as stand-alone websites or through Net-a-Porter.
“An ever-increasing number of Australians are buying fashion products online,” confirms Norman Morris, Industry Director from Roy Morgan Research.
He says, not surprisingly, the majority of online Australian buyers are women. ASOS data reveals that 68% of its shoppers are women, while Roy Morgan Research shows that the number of women buying women’s clothing and footwear has increase by more than 50% in twelve months.
Mr Morris says that women buying fashion online tend to want to look stylish and be noticed. Compared with the average Australian women, online fashion shoppers are 73% more likely to agree with the statement I wear clothes that will get me noticed.
But it’s not the motivation for everyone. Juanita Jameson is medical receptionist with three children in their 20s,who says she buys online “almost all the time” despite living 3 kilometres from what is regarded as one of Sydney’s best shopping centres at Bondi Junction.
“I can’t remember the last time I went into a clothes shop. The only reason I go into a shop now for personal shopping is to buy shoes but if I can find the same pair as the I’m replacing online, I do that also.
“I do it because it’s convenient, it’s reliable, it’s quick and there’s so much more choice. Australian fashion stores and department stores just don’t have the range of their American or English counterparts.”
Is service a factor for Juanita?
“Yes, I’m much happier interacting with my computer than I am with most shop assistants. Is that bad of me?” she asks.
Mr Morris says Juanita’s comments are consistent with the research.
“Being able to purchase items quickly and easily is very appealing. Not only is there the factor of a jump-start on trends, but British and US stores have clothes that are not necessarily available in Australia.”
He says the two factors that bricks and mortar stores have to offer are personalised experience and the opportunity to ‘try-before-you-buy’.
“Half the women who shop online for clothes say they are ‘born to shop’, suggesting there is scope for bricks and mortar stores to get it right."
And what is the one thing Juanita misses about shopping in a store?
"The bags. Many stores have beautiful bags which come in handy for other things."