With over two years of instability and the world stage throwing up more challenges for retailers, EDITED's Enterprise Intelligence data reveals how consumer behavior is changing.
Discover how EDITED can unearth consumer trends and support retailers' trade strategies during the cost of living crisis.
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Customer loyalty is at a two-year high, with VIPs increasing from 4.3% to 5% YoY of total customers. Retailers are struggling to entice new shoppers, with this cohort dropping 3pp YoY, highlighting the challenge brands face diversifying their audience reach, while still serving their loyal customer base.
Consumer spending and profitability have grown, with VIP customers noting an increase of 26%, and new customers 17%, per order YoY. This could, however, be a knock-on effect of inflation, with customers absorbing retailers’ higher overhead costs.
The rising cost of living has led to consumers being more conservative with purchases. The number of units per order dropped slightly YoY from 2.81 to 2.71, while orders using promotions increased from 48.5% to 56.3%.
The influx of returns continues to be a challenge for retailers, up 4.2pp YoY in April. Brands are working to recuperate costs by charging for postal returns to encourage conscious purchases and investing in online size technology.
Are Customers Becoming Less Loyal?
A backlog of orders in January increased the average shipping time to almost four days. Despite this, customers proved more loyal to their favorite brands in 2022 than at any other point over the past two years. VIPs (customers that have purchased 11 times or more) are up from 4.3% to 5% YoY of total customers. Where the challenges lay for retailers is attracting new buyers. This demographic lowered 3pp from equaling 29% to 26% of online shoppers.
Are Customers Buying More?
Though the cost of living is rising, all customer types have seen an increase in profit margin per order. VIP customers have seen the most considerable gain at 26% YoY, almost $18 per order. New customers have increased by 17% in profit per order. Following the January sales period, VIP buyers shifted to having the highest profit per order. A departure from the trend in 2020 and 2021 when VIP buyers had the lowest profit per order.
Despite consumer spending and profitability rising, customers are being more considered with purchases. The number of units per order YTD has slightly decreased from 2.81 in 2021 to 2.71 in 2022. At the same time, the percentage of orders using promotions increased YoY from 48.5% to 56.3%. Though it equals a smaller proportion, the rate of items selling at full price rose from 46.1% in 2022 to 50.1% in 2022, proving customers don’t need discount incentives when the product is right.
Are Customers Returning More Items?
High return rates hit Q1 following the end of year sales. March saw the lowest percentage out of the three-month period at 19.1%. This percentage spiked 5.1pp, 4.2pp higher YoY in April, suggesting customers may be sending back fashion items to adjust their discretionary spending as the cost of living rises. Additionally, there has been a YoY influx of customers bracketing their purchases and returning the sizes that don’t fit. Retailers have recognized the impact mass returns have on their bottom lines, stock positions, and environmental footprints and have adapted their strategies accordingly.
With 40% of online returns at Levi’s attributed to sizing issues, its new “See It In My Size” feature allows customers to better relate to who is modeling its products through more inclusive representation. Dyspnea offers personalized size files of its models, detailing their measurements and ways they like to wear the product based on their body type. Zara recently made the polarizing decision to charge £1.95 to return clothes via post to recuperate its costs, allowing customers to still return purchases for free in-store. This strategy is usually reserved for small businesses to keep costs low; however, after Zara, we can expect other major players to follow suit, encouraging customers to make more mindful purchases.
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