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Fashion ecommerce pure play Asos recorded a nearly 40% increase in worldwide retail sales in its fiscal first half, in parallel with double-digit gains in digital user metrics.
For the six months ended February 28, 2017, total retail sales for the millennials-focused, London-based online retailer jumped 38% to £889.2 million ($1.20 billion), propelled by a 54% gain in international sales to £548.4 million ($740.2 million). The company attributed its international success in part to the falling value of the pound having boosted the company’s appeal among non-UK shoppers.
In the UK, which the company described as a “more promotional market,” retail sales swelled 18% to £340.8 million ($460.0 million). While not as high as Asos’ international sales gains, the company’s UK sales growth was above average compared with the most recent stats for retail ecommerce growth among textile, clothing and footwear stores in Great Britain, which were up 12.5.% in February 2017 vs. a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – UK.
Asos’ sales growth in the UK also outpaced eMarketer’s forecast of a 15.0% increase in overall UK retail ecommerce sales for 2016.
In addition to the UK, Asos operates local language websites for the US, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia and Russia. Collectively, they attracted 127 million visits during February 2017, up almost 20% from the 106 million recorded in February 2016.
As of February 28, 2017, the retailer had 14.1 million “active customers”—defined as those who had shopped with the company in the preceding 12 months—a figure up more than 29% from a year earlier. Within that total, Asos’ active customer base in the UK topped 5 million for the first time.
Mobile metrics also improved. Daily app downloads rose 28% during the period, according to the company, and mobile visits accounted for 70% of total traffic, up from 60% in the first half of fiscal 2016. In addition, 58% of orders were placed from a mobile device, a gain of 7 percentage points from a year earlier.
During the period, Asos rolled out a new mobile checkout feature on all its digital channels. The company said it plans to launch a series of customer experience-related updates for the Asos Android app in the coming months and begin to offer Apple Pay as a payment option for its iOS app and mobile web visitors.
The retailer’s efforts to engage its core audience of 20-something shoppers on social media also bore fruit, with a 25% increase in its global audience during the six-month period to 21.3 million followers.
The company said its social media highlights during the period included reaching 32 million people with an Asos Snapchat Black Friday lens and engaging more than 13 million people across the US and the UK with the launch of Instagram Stories advertising.
US paid media ad spending will grow steadily in 2017, on the heels of a strong 2016 boosted by the Rio Olympics and the presidential election. A focus on mobile will fuel growth, pushing total media spend to more than $206 billion this year—a moderate increase of 6.1%.
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