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Fashion & Jewelry: How High-Value Customers’ Online Shopping Behavior Changed in 2020

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The fashion and jewelry industry was among the hardest hit during the pandemic. With social events coming to a stop and all gatherings now virtual, there seemed little need for new clothes amidst the lockdowns and remote working.

Fashion and jewelry choices, however, have always been a statement on identity and sales soon began to bounce back. NetElixir found that apparel sales surged in April when the first stimulus checks were sent, revealing a pent-up demand in the market for new fashion items. With extra spending money, people turned almost immediately to treating themselves to personal wants as opposed to essential necessities. As remote working continued, Zoom fashion sparked a resurgence in athleisure wear. The locations of meetings may have changed, but fashion and jewelry were still important identity-markers, especially in a Zoom square. 

The high-value shopper of the fashion and jewelry e-commerce industry adjusted her online shopping behavior as the pandemic continued. Shoppers of all types needed to quickly adapt to the rapid and digital changes the world was undergoing. NetElixir’s 2021 FACES research report delves into how high-value customers’ online shopping behavior evolved in response to the e-commerce surge sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The NetElixir Retail Intelligence Lab analyzed over two million unique online consumer paths-to-purchase across ten e-commerce categories for our FACES research. Our goal was to better understand ongoing changes in online shopping behaviors and trends of high-value customers. We divided our data into three timeframes:

  • Pre-pandemic (Jan. 1 – Mar. 15, 2020)
  • Non-holiday pandemic (Mar. 16 – Nov. 15, 2020)
  • Holiday pandemic (Nov. 16 – Dec. 25, 2020)

Meet the high-value shopper for the fashion and jewelry retail industry: 

High-value shopper of fashion and jewelry e-commerce industry, according to NetElixir's dataset.
The high-value consumer profile for fashion and jewelry is a woman aged 25-35.

Fashion and Jewelry Online Shopping Trends

Prior to the pandemic, the high-value shopper of the fashion and jewelry industry took her time with her purchases. She searched and shopped at a leisurely pace, usually visiting a website around two p.m. and purchased on a Saturday at one p.m. Shopping for new clothes and accessories was a fun hobby for this high-value shopper, as she took time out of her weekend to browse through fashion selections.

She visited a website seven times across seven days before finally completing her purchase. This high-value shopper is a thorough shopper and carefully reviews each article prior to purchasing. She’d buy just over two items per shopping occasion, with her average order value totaling $168.33. 

While apparel sales dropped significantly at the start of the pandemic, sales began to recuperate starting from April and continuing to surge through the summer for back-to-school. Warmer weather and reopenings drove shoppers to replenish their wardrobe – even if it was the latest piece of athleisure wear for a walk in the park with friends. The high-value shopper was still selective in her browsing, visiting a website six times prior to purchase. However, she placed her orders more quickly, as her latency period declined by half: she now took only three days and about eight hours between the first website visit and final purchase. 

She searched earlier in the day, around eleven a.m., and purchased at noon on a Saturday. This high-value shopper still reserved her weekends to browse through the fashion selection, as style remained her passion even if the occasion had changed. She bought fractionally more items per purchase instance during the pandemic (2.17 compared to pre-pandemic’s 2.15), but her AOV dropped by $10 to $156.48.

While the high-value fashion and jewelry customers probably prioritized new clothes and accessories more than the average customer, innovative apparel companies who pivoted to producing and selling masks helped keep their ware relevant and fresh. This, in turn, kept shoppers like the high-value shopper engaged with new products and allowed them to continue to have a sense of identity through a choice of masks.

Mobile As A Fashion Statement

Continued customer engagement is crucial to any successful e-commerce business and a user-friendly digital interface is important as online shopping continues to gain prominence. Due to the high-value shopper’s younger age of 25-35, she is comfortable navigating her mobile device, presumably even before the pandemic compelled more shoppers online.

Pre-pandemic, she used her mobile phone for almost 22% of her first website visits and to complete 22% of her orders. The role of mobile in her purchase journey only increased during the pandemic. From March to November, she made 24% of her first website visits and final orders on her mobile device. During the holiday season, that number rose further, as she was visiting a website 28% of the time and completing 27% of her orders on her mobile device. 

Mobile apps always had an important role in the fashion industry, especially to help with virtual try-on and simplify social commerce. The fashion industry is a versatile industry, so it will continue to adapt to the increasing role of mobile. 

The Holidays Drove a Heightened Sense of Urgency in Online Shopper Behavior

Equally as versatile as the fashion industry itself is the high-value customer. She quickly adjusted her online shopping behavior to accommodate new e-commerce trends. As the holiday season approached, she made her purchase decisions more quickly and purposefully to secure gifts – for both loved ones and herself. The holidays may have been homebound, but that didn’t mean she needed to skimp on her outfit. 

During the holiday season, the high-value shopper searched around one p.m. and completed her purchase at two p.m. on a Monday. She took one day and about three hours between the first website visit and final purchase — the shortest holiday latency period within NetElixir’s dataset. During this time, she visited a website four times prior to purchase.

Her holiday basket size was two and a half items and her AOV jumped to $183.41. Like other high-value customers in NetElixir’s study, the fashion and jewelry shopper was willing to spend more to secure gifts.

Online Shopping Expectations for These Fashion-Conscious High-Value Customers

The latest trends and styles were never far from the high-value customer’s mind. Early on in the pandemic, she may not have had the full resources and disposable income to splurge on new clothes and accessories. However, pent-up demand will continue to spark economic growth. As the weather gets warmer, vaccines continue to roll out, and more stimulus checks are expected, customers like the high-value shopper will likely spend more in personal categories like fashion and jewelry.

Keep your campaigns running throughout the weekend when she is more likely to be searching and shopping. On social media, showcase diverse models wearing your latest clothes and accessories; if people are hesitant to go in-store, they still want to have a sense of how clothes and accessories will look on them. Forbes reports that more customers are using augmented reality to virtually try on make and clothes in a new digital fashion wave. Continue to drive urgency in your high-value customers by updating your website with the latest styles and new choices.

Further Resources on Understanding Your High-Value Customers

NetElixir’s proprietary customer analytics tool, LXRInsights, charts the paths-to-purchase of your high-value customers. Using our technology, you can track customer touchpoints and build customer personas for more personalized and targeted campaigns – just as we explored in our 2021 FACES report. Request a demo of LXRInsights for specifics into your business at https://www.netelixir.com/lxrinsights/#/.

Tune in on Fridays to learn more about your industry’s high-value customers. Browse through our previously published industries: