Department store websites win traffic from fashion-driven shoppers, Kantar finds

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Department store websites are increasingly popular with fashion-conscious consumers preparing for the festive season, the latest Kantar Media Compete Seasonal Shopper Insights reveals.

Released today, the research shows in the run-up to Christmas, department stores saw a 9% increase in traffic to the fashion pages of their websites between 2011 and 2012. Debenhams was the highest performer, with the number of visitors to its fashion pages growing 36% year-on-year.

In contrast, figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard Footfall Monitor show shopper numbers in December 2012 were down by 1.2% from the previous year.

Kantar Media Compete’s report reveals although brand-only fashion retailers still see the highest number of browsers, the average conversion rate for these sites dropped from 9% in December 2011 to 7% in December 2012.

Other findings in the research show the traditional gifts of nightwear and underwear were the fashion categories to see the biggest year-on-year growth in online shoppers. In December 2012, purchases of women’s items increased by 18% from 2011, and men’s by 28%. 

Purchases of gift cards, which offer a quick and easy gift option, increased 6% between 2011 and 2012; with Marks & Spencer and Debenhams accounting for the majority of gift card shoppers in 2012.  Figures peak in December, compared to October and November. 

The research also showed men are keen fashion shoppers. In 2012 they accounted for 40% of all browsers on fashion websites (up slightly from 38% in 2011).

Jeremy Radcliffe, managing director, Kantar Media Compete UK, said: “Comparing online fashion retail data for 2011 and 2012 indicates increasingly time-poor shoppers appreciate being able to make their fashion purchases, whether these are gifts or Christmas party outfits for themselves, under one online roof.

“This trend is helped by department stores’ commitment to enhancing their online offerings as they look to become truly multi-channel. Initiatives such as click and collect at John Lewis for example are proving popular with consumers because of the flexibility they offer.”

Retail TImes’ readers can download the full Seasonal Shopper Insights here: www.kantarmedia.compete.com