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Abstract

Euromonitor asked about 250 analysts in 80+ countries about their personal style and shopping habits in order to better understand how consumers shop for clothes.

Three distinct types of consumers emerged, each with its own unique style influences, clothing needs, and shopping practices: the Practical Purchaser, the Fit Fanatic, and the Stylish Shopper.

Shopping with a signature style

Is your style classically elegant or fashion-forward? Vintage chic or casually comfortable? Whether made consciously or not, clothing choices signal a great deal of information about each individual shopper. In particular, personal style influences more than just the cut and colour of a wardrobe. Style also influences how individuals shop for clothes, where they look for fashion inspiration, and what qualities are most important when buying a new garment.

Euromonitor recently turned to its global network of analysts to better understand how personal style impacts apparel shopping habits. At a high level, the majority of analysts appreciate quality
apparel at a good price, and trust that their favourite store will meet their style needs. However, three distinct style archetypes emerged as well:

  1. The Practical Purchaser: a shopper who buys clothing with comfort and function in mind
  2. The Fit Fanatic: a shopper who ensures that the cut and quality of their clothing is top notch
  3. The Stylish Shopper: a brand-conscious consumer who stays up-to-date with the latest fashion trends.

What follows is an exploration of the shopping habits and style preferences of these consumer groups.

Descriptions of Personal Clothing Style


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Source: Euromonitor International Analyst Survey—Analyst Pulse; April 2013

Note: Showing percent of respondents who agree that the indicated statement describes their personal clothing style. Respondents could select up to three statements.  

The Practical Purchaser

Desired apparel features for the Practical Purchaser

Like most shoppers, quality and overall price top the must-have list for new garments for the Practical Purchaser. However, the desire for comfortable clothing is unique to this sensible shopper – Practical Purchasers are three times as likely to prioritise comfortable cuts as consumers who are not motivated by clothing feel and function. Men are particularly likely to dress with ease-of-use in mind, as are consumers over the age of 35. Practical Purchasers also prefer roomy shapes and quality fabrics over brand, style, or even sale prices. Easy-to-wear clothing is the goal for the Practical Purchaser.

Factors That Influence Apparel Purchases


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Source: Euromonitor International Analyst Survey—Analyst Pulse; April 2013

Note: Showing percent of respondents who report that the above factors are among the top four determinants of their apparel purchase decisions. 

Shopping habits of the Practical Purchaser

Practical Purchasers are most likely to shop for clothing just once every season. When they do shop for apparel, it is likely to replace favorite items that they have worn out or out-grown, instead of adding new items to complement their current wardrobe.

Style influences for the Practical Purchaser

When Practical Purchases do head out for a rare shopping trip, they are more interested in quickly finding something that fits, rather than agonizing over trends. Thus, their clothing choices are primarily influenced by what is readily available in stores. Practical Purchasers also look for fashion advice and guidance from their spouses, friends, and family, instead of industry publications
such as brand advertising, fashion magazines, and blogs. As a result, retailers aimed at capturing this demographic may have more success targeting their advertising to the influential friends and family of the Practical Purchaser, instead of directly to the sensible shopper.

Sources of Style Influence by Style Archetype


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Source: Euromonitor International Analyst Survey—Analyst Pulse; April 2013

Note: Showing percent of respondents who report that the above sources are one of the three most significant influences to their personal style and shopping habits. 

The Fit Fanatic

Whereas the Practical Purchaser prioritises comfort and function in their apparel, the Fit Fanatic purchases clothing with a different set of criteria in mind. The Fit Fanatic relies on the fit of various fashions to determine their personal style, gravitating toward apparel items that look and feel the best on their body type. This is the most common style archetype in Euromonitor’s body-conscious global network of analysts; nearly two-thirds of analysts fall into this group. Women and shoppers under 35 particularly appreciate cuts that flatter their figures.

Shopping habits & style influences of the Fit Fanatic

The Fit Fanatic frequently hits the stores in search of that elusive perfect fit. For example, the Fit Fanatic is more likely to purchase a new garment at least once a month (40%) than shoppers who do not prioritise fit in their apparel (24%). These new apparel purchases are also more likely to be spur-of-the-moment wardrobe additions than planned replacements for previously-owned items, perhaps because these shoppers are unable to resist a well-fitting item, even if they had not intended to make a purchase.

As a result, in-store displays are more likely to catch the eye of the Fit Fanatic than any other type of apparel consumer. The Fit Fanatic is also influenced by what is available on store shelves, but finds the opinions of their friends and family especially helpful when seeking a second opinion on which styles flatter their body.

Desired apparel features for the Fit Fanatic

Fit Fanatics prioritise a flattering cut of cloth more than any other style archetype. These shoppers also have an appreciation for quality, brand, and garment material—all features that often go hand-in-hand will well-designed, fitted clothing. As a result, brands that want to entice these consumers who are willing to pay more money for a higher-quality garment should consider creating apparel lines designed for specific body types.

Key Factors That Influence Fit Fanatic Apparel Purchase Decisions


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Source: Euromonitor International Analyst Survey—Analyst Pulse; April 2013

Note: Showing percent of respondents who report that the above factors are one of the four most significant influences to their purchase decisions.

The Stylish Shopper

A less common, but highly influential, apparel consumer is the Stylish Shopper. The Stylish Shopper keeps up-to-date with current fashion trends or has established their own unique style. As with Fit Fanatics, it is more common for women to fall under this style archetype. However, trend-setting is not only for young shoppers; consumers in their 40s and 50s are just as likely to buy the latest cut or must-have accessory as consumers in their 20s and 30s. As a result, fashion-forward brands should target their advertising towards chic consumers of all ages.

Shopping habits & style influences of the Stylish Shopper

Updating one’s wardrobe with the latest trends or signature pieces is a year-long endeavor for Stylish Shoppers. More Stylish Shoppers add new pieces to their clothing collection each month than either Fit Fanatics or Practical Purchasers (46%, compared to 40% and 25%, respectively). These shoppers are also more likely to make impulsive decisions (32%) than they are to plan their
purchases in advance (22%). Beyond making spur-of-the moment decisions, trend-setters are particularly likely to snap up the latest fashion than replace an old, but favorite garment.

Nevertheless, outfit inspiration for these chic consumers does not come from the mass-market clothing available on typical store shelves or in window displays. Instead, Stylish Shoppers are influenced by what they see and read in fashion magazines, blogs, and brand advertising. These trendy consumers also look to their peers for fashion inspiration more than any other style  archetype. Thus, industry advertising—particularly advertising that utilises social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest—is uniquely effective at reaching the fashion-forward Stylish Shopper.

Desired apparel features for the Stylish Shopper

As one might expect, Stylish Shoppers are more likely to seek out the hottest brands and latest trends for their clothing purchases than consumers who are less concerned with fashion. However, Stylish Shoppers also appreciate a bargain and are 50% more likely to buy clothing on sale than both Practical Purchasers and Fit Fanatics. This unique profile of clothing needs makes fast fashion retailers like H&M ideal for Stylish Shoppers. The low prices and frequently updated collections of these retailers meet the Stylish Shopper’s need for en vogue merchandise they can wear a few times and then discard as trends change. Less expensive clothing also allows Stylish Shoppers to amass a large apparel collection, giving them more options when putting together a seemingly endless combination of outfits.

Key Factors That Influence Stylish Shopper Apparel Purchase Decisions

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Source: Euromonitor International Analyst Survey—Analyst Pulse; April 2013

Note: Showing percent of respondents who report that the above factors are one of the four most significant influences to their purchase decisions.

Summary

The three types of consumers who dominate the apparel marketplace today, the Practical Purchaser, the Fit Fanatic, and the Stylish Shopper, illustrate a wide range of shopping habits and style
inspirations. Each of these style archetypes approaches apparel shopping in a different way, with unique clothes preferences, fashion influences, and shopping practices.

The divergent behaviours of the three style archetypes can aid apparel companies and other retailers as they shape their product offering and strive to reach their target market. While all shoppers prioritise price and quality, the Practical Purchaser is also looking for comfort and convenience. These consumers will likely reach for the first item they find in a store that seems to fit their needs, spending as little time as possible to do so. The Fit Fanatic takes more care in their clothing selection, willing to spend more on an item that flatters their figure. The Stylish Shopper, on the other hand, relies on external influences, such as blogs, celebrity fashions, and their social group, to find up-to-date trends at an affordable price, changing their wardrobe often to stay on trend.

Introduction to Analyst Pulse survey

In 2011, Euromonitor International began designing, executing and analysing its own surveys in order to expand its trusted global research.  This is part of a series of articles presenting the results of its Analyst Pulse surveys.  In Analyst Pulse surveys, Passport Survey reaches out to Euromonitor’s network of in-country analysts and in-house researchers around the world in order to find out more about current consumer attitudes and habits on a wide variety of topics, from economic outlook to daily activities. The Survey team collaborates with Euromonitor industry managers to identify topics and design questions. In April 2013, 250 researchers answered questions about their apparel shopping habits and preferences; these questions were created in partnership with the Apparel team.

More on the sample: our global analyst network

Analyst Pulse survey results differ from other survey data cited on Passport Survey (eg, findings from the Annual Study or Global Youth) and should be interpreted with some caution. Analyst Pulse responses reflect the opinions and habits of several hundred of Euromonitor International’s in-country analysts and in-house researchers around the world.  As such, results reflect a great degree of geographic, economic, and cultural diversity among educated consumers.

On the other hand, Euromonitor International’s researchers do not constitute a random sample of consumers in a given country or across the globe, so their responses do not necessarily represent the opinions of a broader population of consumers.  Passport Survey presents their attitudes and behaviours in order to provide starting points for potential further investigations and sparks of
tactical insight.

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