With an influx of overseas fashion retailers opening in Australia — the much-hyped launch of Swedish giant H&M’s Melbourne store this weekend being the latest example — local retailers are having to step it up a notch to stand out. Not surprisingly, the use of digital technologies and cross-platform marketing is intensifying among local players determined to remain competitive in this increasingly globalised fashion climate.
Naturally, some retailers are doing it better than others. Sportsgirl, for example, is an acknowledged industry leader when it comes to digital innovation. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that their customers are more responsive to this kind of marketing than those of many other fashion retailers: not only do 82% own smartphones (compared to the national average of 60%), but half are iPhone owners (almost double the Australian average).
With Gen Z being far and away the generation* most likely to shop at Sportsgirl (followed by Gen Y), it makes sense that Sportsgirl has embraced new technology and mobile marketing to such an extent: its young shoppers wouldn’t expect it any other way, having grown up in the digital age. Not only are Sportsgirl customers 55% likelier than the average Aussie to qualify as Technology Early Adopters, they’re also 36% more likely to agree with the statement, “I go out of my way to learn everything I can about new technology.”
PLEASE SEE ATTACHED CHART: Smartphone and iPhone ownership varies among customers of different fashion stores
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2013–December 2013. Australians aged 14+ n= 18,576
At the other end of the age spectrum, customers of Millers and Noni B are most likely to be from the Boomer generations. This goes a long way towards explaining why these stores have the lowest proportion of smartphone-owning customers: ownership of these devices is far less widespread among older generations. Consequently, digital and mobile marketing probably isn’t such a priority for these stores.
These findings come from Roy Morgan Single Source, Australia’s largest comprehensive study of consumers: including their spending choices, attitudes and use of technology.
Warren Reid, Group Account Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Leading the charge into fashion retail’s brave new digital world is Sportsgirl, who took digital marketing and in-store displays to a whole new level last month, unveiling cutting-edge digital store windows. This long-standing Australian company has also successfully rolled out many other innovative customer-engagement tools, such as their ‘augmented reality app’ Sportsgirl Explore, and shopping via QR codes.
“Our data shows that most Sportsgirl customers are smartphone and iPhone owners, and comfortable with new technologies. Therefore this increasingly digital direction is a smart move on Sportsgirl’s part.
“Global icon H&M opens in Melbourne this weekend, following in the footsteps of overseas fashion powerhouses Topshop and Zara. This increased competition for Australian retailers does not just affect specialty fashion chains; it also impacts major department stores David Jones and Myer. Sportsgirl’s investment in technology may be risky, but also could prove a key differentiator for future profitability.
“Engaging with young, early adopters of technology via new channels, media and sales opportunities that many other retailers have yet to adopt may enable Australian fashion stores to defend their turf from incoming and recently arrived overseas rivals. One thing is certain: to adapt and innovate is to survive and evolve.”
* Roy Morgan ‘Generations’ definitions:
Pre-Boomers — Pre 1946; Baby Boomers — 1946-1960; Generation X — 1961-1975; Generation Y — 1976-1990; Generation Z — 1991-2005.
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Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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