'Stylish' women are active spenders, loyal to 'winning brands'

NEW YORK Women who consider themselves "stylish" and follow the hottest fashion trends are actively spending in 2010, with a greater focus on quality and value, according to a recent study.

The "Why She Shops: The 2010 Fashion and Beauty Study," conducted by Bain & Co. in cooperation with Vogue magazine, found that while style-conscious women still are skeptical about paying full price, they explicitly are seeking durability when it comes to buying clothing and accessories. Furthermore, as it relates to apparel, accessories and beauty brands, loyalty is "the consistent thread for winning brands."

"Big or small, mass or luxury, older or younger, the consistent thread for winning brands is loyalty," stated Erika Serow, a Bain Retail practice partner and lead author of the study.

The study, which surveyed more than 5,000 female shoppers in June 2010, also found that when it comes to luxury, 15% of style-conscious women accounted for 70% of luxury spending in apparel, accessories and beauty.

Style-conscious women are shopping both in stores and online. When shopping in stores, they prefer specialty or vertical retailers to typical department stores, spending 55% of their apparel spend and 40% of their accessories spend with specialty retailers. They purchase beauty products at a mix of mass merchants, drug stores, vertical retailers or grocery outlets.

Online, the participants indicated that they spend nearly twice as much on apparel, accessories and beauty products as the average woman. Despite being much heavier users of mobile and social media than the average population, they only are beginning to use text messages to help them shop (5%), to rely on social networks for shopping ideas (10%) or make purchases from their mobile phones (12%).

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