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UK Online Clothing Shoppers Still Favor the PC

Digital shoppers want a better ability to tell whether clothing will fit them

October 4, 2013 | Retail & Ecommerce

Even as mcommerce takes a greater share of ecommerce sales in the UK, the PC is still the preferred device for browsing and ordering clothes, according to a May 2013 poll from retailer Drapers, conducted in association with Kantar Media Compete and Web Marketplace Solutions. More than four out of five polled UK digital shoppers and buyers said the laptop or PC was the primary device they used for digital clothes shopping. The tablet came in at a distant second, with 10.7% preferring the device for clothes shopping via the web, followed by the mobile phone, at 8.5%.

Primary Device Used by UK Digital Shoppers & Buyers for Browsing/Ordering Clothing, May 2013 (% of total)

There are signs that whatever the device, shopping behavior is becoming increasingly digital first. When asked about their preferred means of communicating with favorite clothing retailers, the No. 1 response was getting emails with offers and discounts, cited by 35.3% of respondents, ahead of actually visiting high-street stores, at 33.3%. Of course, it may be that the deals part of those emails are what’s really enticing UK consumers. As for other digital means of keeping in touch, a minimal 6.6% of respondents said they liked to interact with favored clothing retailers on social media.

For consumers who are actively visiting clothing retailer sites, rather than passively awaiting an email with the next suggested purchase or discount, there are still steps retailers can and should take to make the digital shopping and buying experience better.

Both men and women across age groups in the UK said that the biggest problem with fashion retailers’ websites was that it was not easy enough to tell whether items would fit. Men also reported that it was hard to locate products they were looking for. Women, on the other hand, were more likely to be concerned about sites not making clear whether items were available at nearby retailers, indicating that women are more inclined to shop online, and then buy in-store, whereas men want to click and buy.

Biggest Failure of Fashion Retailers' Websites According to UK Female Consumers, by Age, May 2013 (% of total)

Interestingly, it seems either clothing retailers have already done enough to translate their sites for mobile, or mobile figures low on customers’ lists of retail site problems, compared to all the other improvements they’d like to see: Less than 2% of women across age groups, and between 1% and 6% of men said the biggest failure of fashion sites was that they didn’t translate well on the mobile phone or tablet.

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