/ Retail Trend Report

Retail Trend Report: Understanding the Apparel Industry and the Digital Trends Shaping It

The way consumers interact with fashion brands is changing. Shoppers don’t just want to connect with companies once; they want to engage throughout the entire purchasing journey. Before entering a store or visiting a brand’s website, consumers turn to digital platforms for inspiration, exploration, and to research and compare products. As the industry continues to go through a digital transformation, platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Amazon have also become primary destinations for making purchases.

Fashion, a visual industry driven by trends and community, is particularly well suited for social marketing. An increasing number of apparel brands have started to understand the true opportunity presented on these platforms, but many are still struggling to deliver relevant, purposeful experiences to consumers. As these online touchpoints continue to alter fashion shoppers’ behaviors, preferences, and expectations, brands should consider how to engage and connect with them through the entire ecommerce ecosystem.

Fashion Brands on Social Media

Social media has become an increasingly important driving force behind apparel consumers’ paths to purchase. 1 in 4 users follows at least one brand whose products they’re interested in buying, and 200 million Instagram users follow at least one fashion account. The hashtag #fashion is used over 13 million times per month and #ootd (outfit of the day) features in 140 million posts to date.

According to Adaptly data, fashion brands currently allocate the majority of their social media budget to Facebook and Instagram – 57% and 23% respectively. An analysis of other industries’ investment patterns shows that this represents significantly higher-than-average spend on Instagram (compared to a 13% average) and slightly lower-than-average spend on Facebook (compared to a 64% average).

Many fashion brands seem to primarily view Facebook and Instagram as lower-funnel platforms. A large part (63%) of last year’s social advertising activity was focused on driving conversions – a significantly higher figure than the 21% dedicated to awareness ads. The combined average across all industries was much more evenly split across the funnel. This shows that, while retail advertisers still want to inspire, they also work to facilitate shopping experiences on social platforms. And they’re leading the charge compared to other industries.

On Pinterest, where users often plan future purchases, the vast majority of fashion brands’ ads (94%) were focused on upper-funnel objectives – awareness and consideration. This more or less mirrors investment patterns for other industries, where the combined figure is as high as 99% for upper-funnel objectives.

Top Trends in the Retail Industry

As apparel sales continue to migrate online, fashion brands are shifting marketing budgets toward digital channels. Shoppers have moved away from relying solely on catwalk reports and glossy magazines for fashion inspiration. Instead, they’re exploring trends and researching brands and products on social. Platform experiences are converging, and the challenge for fashion brands is to deliver a relevant, useful, and purposeful experience, not just on – but also across – those digital platforms.

Click below to download our 2019 Retail Trend Report to discover the top 4 trends driving the industry today. Plus, get insights on how those changes will impact your brand and how you can prepare for the future of fashion and apparel.