The speed of fashion retail these days is boosting apparel sales, especially among women's clothing purchased online, according to a recent report from Adobe’s Digital Price Index.
Adobe researchers developed a new methodology to tease out longterm trends from May data that they say could help shed light on the monumental shifts in retail that are especially hitting apparel sales. Of the more than 7,000 new apparel products that appear online every day, nearly half (3,150) are aimed at women, while only 1,750 are geared toward men, with the rest children’s, babies’ and footwear. More than half of all online women’s apparel purchases (56%) are items that have just hit the market in the previous three months, compared with 38.8% of spending on the newest men’s items.
Revenue from sales of new apparel products, (on the market for a year or less), accounts for 80.5% of spending in the category – the largest share of spending among all categories that the DPI tracks, according to the report. Nearly one third (30.8%) of all spending on women’s clothes goes towards products that are month old or less; for men’s clothes it’s 18%.
The new research found other gender-based shopping differences as well, including that women tend to shop seasonally, while men buy shirts and underwear all year long. Women, meanwhile, look for dresses in the spring and sweaters in the fall. While that may not be earth-shattering news for many merchants, the numbers reveal gender differences that are surprising, according to Adobe DPI data science analyst Sid Kulkarni.
“The gender differences we see in the DPI are really intriguing,” he said in a statement. “Women’s apparel sees much more turnover in response to a quicker fashion cycle than other categories of clothing. Moreover, women’s clothes purchased online span wide range of items of clothing than men’s or children’s apparel and women’s clothes are sold in the same ratio at the high and low end.”
In fact, online apparel consumers at all levels are keen on finding deals, the research shows. In May, the DPI tracked a 4.3% year-over-year price deflation in online apparel sales, compared to relatively flat apparel inflation in stores revealed by the Consumer Price Index. “We think the difference reflects online shoppers’ dedication to seeking out deep discounts, and the fact that consumers are more likely to buy off-season clothes online,” Kulkarni said.
While deflation was prevalent in online apparel sales, it wasn’t equal in all markets. For the highest-priced 25%, prices dropped 5.5% year over year, while the least expensive quarter showed 7.5% deflation and mid-priced items showed minimal deflation, according to the report.
Because so much of apparel sales is seasonal, which sparks discounts when clothing is out of season, Adobe’s new methodology groups products by subcategories, like men’s sport coats or women’s swimwear, and further divides the categories by price bins. Adobe examined separate groups of similarly priced sport coats: $0 to $100, $100 to $200, $200 to $300 and $300 and above. The process yields 684 narrowly defined categories, rolled up to six main categories that the CPI also tracks: men’s, women’s, boys’, girls’, baby and footwear.
The Adobe DPI is sourced through Adobe Experience Cloud and represents 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers, including aggregated, anonymous data from 15 billion website visits and 2.2 million products sold online, Adobe said. Unlike the CPI, the DPI tracks real-time prices and quantities of items sold.