FINANCE

ComScore: Online spending increases 17% to $44.3 billion in Q1

BY Marianne Wilson

Reston, Va. — Online U.S. retail spending reached $44.3 billion in first quarter 2012, up 17% versus a year ago, according to comScore’s Q1 2012 Retail survey. It was the tenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

In other findings, 38% of tablet owners have made a purchase on their devices within the past month. Apparel was the most popular category for purchase among tablet shoppers.

“The first quarter of this year was especially strong for retail e-commerce as we returned to year-over-year growth rates in the high teens, numbers we haven’t seen since 2007,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “While the economic recovery continues to be painfully slow, the channel shift to e-commerce appears to be accelerating. This presents opportunities but also challenges for brick-and-mortar retailers if they can’t hold onto their offline market share in the digital world.”

Highlights from the quarter include:

  • The top-performing online product categories were: digital content & subscriptions, computer software, consumer electronics, jewelry & watches and event tickets. Each category grew at least 17% versus year ago.
  • 48.8% of e-commerce transactions included free shipping, the highest percentage for a quarter on record outside of the holiday season.
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REAL ESTATE

Superdry USA opens 14,000-sq.-ft. store in Times Square

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — British lifestyle brand Superdry USA on May 9 debuted its largest North American retail destination to date, a two-story, 14,000-sq-ft. store in New York City’s Times Square. It is the brand’s third Big Apple location.

Featuring men’s and women’s casual and contemporary apparel and accessories, the new store will offer an eclectic environment that is marked by oversized jam jar chandeliers, triple patchwork tables made from reclaimed wood and the extensive use of raw steel. Unique features include an industrial bomb light chandelier made from British factory lights salvaged from the 1940’s, bespoke cubby-style denim cabinetry, and vetrine mannequin display units. Shoppers can swiftly check out by optimizing the iPod Touch portable check out systems.

Sargenti Architects, Paramus, N.J., served as the architect of record for Superdry USA at Times Square (the Paramus, N.J.-based firm serves in a similar capacity for all of the brand’s U.S. stores).

Superdry USA will continue its New York City retail expansion with the opening of a Lexington Avenue and 59th Street location in August.

Superdry USA, a division of Sunrise Brands, was conceived in 2003 by James Holder and Julian Dunkerton following an inspirational trip to Tokyo. Beginning with a collection of graphic t-shirts, the brand has since grown into an international retailer that fuses distinctive fashion influences from across the globe, including precise British tailoring, vintage Americana style and hand-drawn Japanese-inspired graphics.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: 95 million Americans using social media to shop

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — Forty-two percent of Americans are using social media to shop – this equates to nearly 95 million consumers – and that number continues to rise, according to a study by Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide. When asked how often social media is used to shop today versus a year ago, almost 73% of people confirmed they are using it more.

The study, “SocialShop,” found that people of all ages are using social networking sites and other user-generated content platforms as shopping tools, with 42% of social shoppers using Facebook more than they were a year ago. Fifty-five percent of shoppers are utilizing daily deals more and 46% have increased engagement on review sites and forums.

According to the research, success is not measured by visibility on all social media channels, but by leveraging the strengths of platforms that cater to your shoppers’ needs.

“It’s no secret that social media is top-of-mind among brands. What isn’t widely known is how brands should use social media to serve the needs of shoppers,” said Masha Sajdeh, senior VP strategy director at Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide.

Using social media in the wrong way can have a negative impact on relationships. Forty-four percent of social shoppers said they had stopped interacting with brands on Facebook due to lack of relevant or valuable posts.

“People assign a different purpose and expectation to each social media channel they use,” Sajdeh said. “Once marketers understand how people use social to shop, they can hone their marketing strategies and cater to different shoppers’ needs to drive engagement now and in the future.”

The researchers also identified six shopper archetypes reflecting the needs and habits of today’s social shoppers, and made recommendations on how brands can best reach them.

View the complete findings from the study here. http://www.slideshare.net/LeoBurnettWorldwide/social-shop-research-overview

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