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Video Turns Online Apparel Shoppers Into Buyers

Strategies include incorporating user-generated and product page videos

October 25, 2012

The apparel and accessories category is one of the fastest-growing segments in the retail ecommerce industry, according to a new eMarketer report, “Online Apparel Shopping: How Video Boosts Shopper Confidence and Drives Sales.” eMarketer estimates online category sales will grow 20% in 2012, outpacing the 15.4% growth rate for retail ecommerce in general, with total online apparel and accessories sales reaching $41 billion.

US Apparel and Accessories Retail Ecommerce Sales, 2010-2016 (billions, % change and % of total retail ecommerce sales*)

In this growing retail category, video has emerged as a promising platform for apparel marketers looking to build online shopper confidence. Online video adds an element of “touch and feel,” helping mitigate shoppers’ fears that once their purchase is delivered, it may not be what they had in mind.

March 2012 data (not apparel-specific) from retail consultancy the e-tailing group and online video technology company Invodo found that more than half of internet users surveyed believed that online product videos helped increase confidence in their purchase.

Attitudes Toward Online Product Videos According to US Internet Users, 2011 & 2012 (% of respondents)

Product page and website video content is just one form of video marketing today’s apparel retailers are implementing. Other forms include content marketing and more branding-focused initiatives (like TV commercials, only optimized for the web). User-generated apparel videos are also gaining traction, and may even be promising research tools for apparel shoppers. The e-tailing group and Invodo study looked at product videos—rather than editorial-driven, content-marketing videos—as well as user-generated videos, which happen to be the type of video most consumed by online apparel shoppers.

According to a May 2012 Google and Compete apparel study, shoppers turned to consumer-generated video content even more than marketer-produced video. The study indicated that 36% of US online shoppers watched a “customer testimonial/review” video while shopping for apparel within the last six months. In addition, 29% of US online shoppers watched email marketing video content, and 26% watched consumer-generated (non-testimonial) videos.

Types of Videos US Online Shoppers Watched While Shopping for Apparel, May 2012 (% of respondents)

For retailers, the real question is whether a consumer actually follows through after watching a video and makes a purchase. According to the Google and Compete survey, online shoppers who used video during the research/shopping process were more likely to spend more and buy more items than those who didn’t. The study showed that 25% of online apparel shoppers who used video for research purchased apparel more than six times in the six months prior to polling, compared to only 16% of other online apparel shoppers. Moreover, the survey found that 28% of video researchers spent more than $500 on apparel in the previous six months, compared to a slight 2% of shoppers who did not watch video.

The full report, “Online Apparel Shopping: How Video Boosts Shopper Confidence and Drives Sales,” also answers these key questions:

  • What role does online video play in the online apparel shopper’s path to purchase?
  • How are apparel marketers using online video to drive more purchases online?
  • What are the biggest challenges in the online video space for apparel marketers?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.

Check out today’s other articles, “For SMBs, a Path Toward Digital” and “Canada's News Audience Seeks Varied Sources.”


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