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Examining social media’s influence on fashion industry sales

by | Jul 1, 2021 | Marketing, Public Relations

There is no denying that there’s a certain sense of community when it comes to who and what users follow on social media—evident in the fact that consumers put a lot of faith in the experiences and recommendations of fellow users, whom they may not know first-hand. As a result, social media has transformed from a place of sharing to a place of discovery, and even shopping, particularly as it relates to fashion, new research from data and prescriptive analytics firm The NPD Group reveals.

Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest lead the charge

The firm recently surveyed consumers to determine how they learn about or discover fashion brands and retailers. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest landed at the top of this list, educating 41 percent, 35 percent, and 21 percent of consumers about brands, respectively. When asked what platforms converted advertising and other content into actual purchases, a little over half (51 percent) said Facebook and Instagram content resulted in buying products.

“The pandemic accelerated the ongoing retail shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online purchasing years into the future,” said Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst for NPD, in a news release. “Ready or not, with consumers sheltered at home last year, fashion retailing needed to adapt, and that adaptation had to happen quickly. With this shift, impulse purchasing also shifted. As these platforms make purchasing even easier, with one-click shopping and the ability to buy instantly, social media will continue to gain more impulse-purchase attention.”

Younger consumers are driving social sales

In a recent thought leadership survey done in conjunction with partner CivicScience, when NPD asked consumers if they made any unplanned purchases of clothing, footwear, or accessories while scrolling through social media, younger consumers said they were more inclined to buy on impulse. In fact, one in three consumers between the ages of 13 and 24 had some sort of purchase interaction when it came to fashion and social media. Twelve percent said they made an unplanned purchase, 17 percent said they were not opposed to it in the future, while only 6 percent said they would not purchase fashion products via social media sites again.

“We’re closely watching social media engagement options, like livestreaming, as well,” added Rugolo. “While still small relative to other modes of discovery, livestreaming converts to purchases at about the same rate as larger platforms. It’s clear that those consumers who are using livestreaming are engaged by it.”

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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