The global apparel market, which has been experiencing a slowdown in growth since 2009, is now showing signs of recovery and sales in 2016 are expected to exceed $1.4 trillion, according to a study conducted by an e-commerce and marketing agency in China.
The U.S. market is projected to represent 1/5th of the total, which translates into more than $300 billion, while women's apparel sales are on track and expected to command 40% of total apparel sales worldwide, says the Shanghai-based agency Sinointeractive.
The agency also found that the purchasing habits of young women, the most important contributors to overall sales, are changing in that they are becoming more and more sensitive to the price: Its research said 54.6% of women in the 18 to 35 age bracket in America buy their clothes online, and the price-performance ratio is the most important factor influencing their decision to purchase.
Acknowledging the trend, Leo, the operations director at Globalegrow, a leading international apparel e-commerce supplier based in China, said that his company has already adjusted the pricing strategy as a result.
The company, he said, had developed a sophisticated pricing system: while strictly maintaining the high quality of the products, the system calculates the most reasonable prices taking into account the purchasing habits of the shoppers, the product's popularity in the region, currency exchange rates and other factors.
At present, more than half of the company's sales are women's clothes in the $20 to $50 range. These products are selling quickly, especially during peak buying seasons such as the summer break and at the end of the year.
Another important industry trend is the growing demand by shoppers for products that are personalized and customized. Leo said customer service staff report that, every day, in their conversations with shoppers, they frequently ask for customised changes or add-ons such as accessories in matching colours, name engraving, and changing some details on the garment for a personal touch.
Globalegrow, he claimed, has an independent customer service team that consists of 20 members, who regularly conduct surveys incentivized with prize giveaways with both legacy and recently acquired customers, on websites such as www.sammydress.com, www.rosegal.com, www.zaful.com, to learn more about their purchasing habits in addition to drawing conclusions based on big data collection and analysis in a move to adjust service strategies in a timely manner and meet demands from shoppers for personalization. (SH)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India