Introduction

Conducting high-level research into how fashion consumers’ spending, shopping behavior, and attitudes towards new technologies are changing can be costly and time-consuming. Which is why we have done it for you. Exploring how things are and where they are heading, this research dives deep into the statistics, global trends, and behavior of consumers shaping the e-commerce fashion industry in 2018 and beyond, to help you decide on a future course of action. The research will help you assess where you currently stand and how aligned your marketing strategy is by providing you a holistic view of the current digital landscape and traffic dynamics of the fashion e-commerce industry worldwide. More specifically, it will provide a breakdown of desktop and mobile traffic generated by both fashion aggregator (those that offer recommendations from across many different retailers based on their own preferences, for example asos.com) and brand websites (those that sell their own particular brand of clothes, for example versace.com), traffic share of individual countries on fashion sites, devices distri-bution stats, sources of traffic, share of branded and non-branded traffic, ratio of average website speed and bounce rate, average CPC, top fashion items in PLA ads, and a review of most expensive states for digital adver-tisements in the fashion industry. The study will also provide some aggre-gate analysis of data under each section to help e-tailers develop future strategies for their fashion sites. We hope you find these insights helpful in fine-tuning your current marketing strategy and deciding on a future course of action. With that, let’s jump in to learn what these insights are and how they relate to your specific situation

How To Drive Traffic To Your Website

2017 was the year desktop traffic reached its peak for fashion sites globally before tailing off in 2018. Compared to previous years, a considerable increase in desktop traffic occurred. However, in 2018, mobile traffic is leading the pack! Mobile e-commerce is growing faster than gen-eral e-commerce and is responsible for 7.8 million visitors fashion sites generate globally — more than twice the vol-ume desktop sources generate in 2018.

Google’s mobile first principle could be one reason why the dynamics of online traffic are changing to favor mobile-enabled sites. Starting in 2018, more and more e-commerce sites realized that being mobile-friendly and having quick, usable, graceful, and compelling content on mobile devices is the key when it comes to generating online traffic. Although this might have led to a slight decrease in desktop traffic, the shift may not be solely associated with Google’s mobile first approach. The role of e-commerce sites in focusing more on mobile users and optimizing their online proper-ties around mobile devices could be another factor. Mobile devices’ ease of use, portability, and convenience benefits coupled with better mobile shopping experience made possible by fashion sites are leading to their increased popularity in 2018 and the years to come

It’s clear that fashion sites operating in the US can no longer consider mobile as optional in their marketing strategies. This same is going to be true for brands and aggregators selling globally as they will also need to ensure their sites are conveniently available on mobile. However, this should not lead us to believe that desktop traffic has shrunk to the point it’s become irrelevant now. Desktop is still a major source of traffic after mobile and it’s hard to say it can be abandoned any time soon!

Countries Breakdown

For fashion sites, whether based in the U.S. or outside, the United States is the major source of web traffic. Roughly speaking, U.S. shoppers account for 57% of traffic generated by fashion etailers in the U.S.and over 35% of traffic generated by these sites glob-ally. Although the overall contribution of non-US coun-tries cannot be ignored, it is clear that their individual share is very small relative to the U.S. For fashion sites, it means optimizing their online marketing strat-egies to focus more on where the majority of their customers come from.

Devices Breakdown

Both in the U.S. and globally, mobile traffic on fashion sites appears to surpass that generated by desktop computers. Data indicate that about 55% of visitors on fashion sites globally can be attributed to mobile. The trend appears to be consistent as we look at the traffic parameters globally: mobile traffic on fashion sites is a little less than twice the traffic that comesin through desktop. Not surprisingly, the same trend applies to countries where ecommerce is steadily growing, including Great Britain, Australia. It is worth considering that fashion sites become proactive about this trend and focus on creating responsive web designs or business apps to offer their custom-ers better user experience on mobile devices. The im-portance of adopting a mobile-focused strategy can hardly be overstated given the amount of time peo-ple spend on their mobile devices today. According to an estimate by eMarketer, nearly as much as 72% of marketing dollars will be spent on mobile focused ads and on developing apps from where much of the growth in time spent on mobile devices is likelyto come from.

Sources of Traffic

Knowing where the site traffic originates from is imperative for fashion sites to be able to channel their marketing efforts in the right way. Looking at the sources of desktop traffic on fashion sites, it’s clear that direct traffic takes the lead in the U.S. (with 40%) while search claims the majority of traffic globally (with 40%). Together, direct and search are responsible for about 80% of the total traffic in both the US and globally. Referral is the third major source globally (with about 17%) followed by paid (4%) and social (3%).Speaking specifically of the US, direct traffic is important as it provides insight into customer loyalty and brand recognition. Direct traffic being the most popular source of traffic on fashion sites indicates that fashion shop-pers would like to stay loyal to where they shop if the experience is good. Therefore, it’s worth considering that fashion sites work on to constantly improve their user experience, usability, and accessibility in order to ac-quire, retain, and grow their recurring customer base. Investing in a site’s user experience would also mean getting more brownie points from the search engines which turn out to be the second largest source of web traffic generated on fashion sites.

Traffic from Social Networks

Although the share of social traffic on fashion sites, both in the U.S. and globally, is not quite large compared to other sources, to ignore it in your marketing strategy is not an option either. If you can build a solid presence on social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube, your chances of getting more relevant visitors on the site are much better than without a social media presence. To start off, you may focus on a few social plat-forms which have the utmost relevance and potential for your fashion site.As data indicate, Facebook is the most popular social platform in the U.S. and worldwide with a popularity share of 21%. It’s followed by Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram with popularity shares ranging from 6% to 20%. So focusing on these few platforms to deploy your social media marketing strategy could result in increased traffic and improved brand awareness

Branded and Non-branded Traffic Share

Branded searches appear to be more popular on brand sites operating in the US. Data shows that 65.78% of the total traffic fashion sites generate in the US comes from the users searching for specific brands.While data proves targeting non-branded search terms to be quite essential from a traffic and conversion standpoint, the overall marketing strategy marketers design must also factor in the power of branded search terms. It appears that, given the current traffic landscape of fashion brands and aggregators in the US and elsewhere, fashion businesses can dis-cover more qualified leads online by relying on the strengths of brand and blending non-branded search strategies with branded search tactics to produce maximum results.

Categoriesof referring websites

Fashion sites are getting backlinks from external websites (referringdomains) within a variety of related categories. Globally, the Arts & En-tertainment category being in the lead, with 11% of sites in this category providing links that point back to fashion sites. Within the category,however, some domains contribute more than others.In the U.S., referring domains that generate the most links for fashion sites include retailmenot.com, lyst.com, custhelp.com, aeropostale.com, amazon.com, msn.com, reddit.com, buzzfeed.com along with many others. All of these domains fall in the top 10 categories that account for about 57% of the total external links fashion sites receive from referring domains.A key takeaway for fashion site owners and marketers out there is to understand which referring domains are contributing the most when it comes to providing relevant backlinks to fashion sites. So, when plan-ning a link building strategy, it is worth keeping in mind that categories such as Arts & Entertainment, Beauty & Fitness, and Sports are gener-ating the most links for fashion sites. Also of importance are shopping categories like Coupons & Discounts Offers, Apparel, Discount & Outlet Stores, Athletic Shoes.These insights are as good as the use fashion sites make of them. However, it is worth noting that according to our data, messengers also generate a good amount of referral links for fashion sites. An ever increas-ing amount of users are sharing links via messengers, and this might be useful to the fashion websites in terms of leveraging their digital marketing efforts

SERP Features

Traditional organic search results (that include a title, a link, and a short description) have not changed much in appearance from the early days of Google. How-ever, besides traditional organic results, Google has added a number of non-organic results to its SERPs which are called “features”. Some of the most promi-nent SERP features fashion sites are currently utilizing include: review, image, images carouse, video, video carousel, site links, shopping results, knowledge panel, local pack, and featured snippet. SERP features are a great way fashion sites can get on the front page of Google and drive a ton of attention towards their sites.Interestingly, “review” appears to be the most popular SERP feature among all in the fashion category; both because they help fashion shoppers to make informed decisions and fashion brands to look more appealing to the increasing number of consumers shopping on-line. The other two features with more frequent use for fashion sites are “images” and “images carousel”. As we know that SERP features could be of great value to fashion sites when it comes to enhanced visibility and improved clickthrough rate, marketers should make them a part of their SEO and digital marketing strategy.

What It Means to You as a e-commerce Marketer

There seems to be a dramatic shift of users from desktop to mobile as we head on to 2019. Even right now, as much as about 4.8 million additional users access fashion sites via mobile devices than via desktop. Therefore, focusing their marketing strategy around mobile users will be imperative for fashion brands in the days to come. Fashion websites and apps that cater to the demands and requirements of mobile users will have a better chance of attracting users and improving marketing ROI. That being said, desktop will still remain important from a marketing standpoint and opti-mizing brand websites to create more user-friendly experience will become more necessary than ever.Mobile use is dominating and it’s quite possible that some customers base their first impression of you on their first experience with your site. As we look through the past trends, it appears that sites providing better online experience to users also manage to engage and convert them into repeat customers. This is true both in the case of mobile and desktop users. The fact that the great share of traffic comes from direct sources tells us that customer loyalty tends to be higher where the previous shopping experi-ences are positive. Therefore, to attract, retain, and convert online traffic into future repeat customers, fashion sites will need to ensure that their customers, both on desktop and mobile devices, get better, smoother,and more seamless shopping experience.As a future course of action, marketers should take advantage of online visibility management software for more specific insights and take ap-propriate action to enhance their sites’ performance, increase traffic, and improve conversion. Some important parameters to look into may include traffic sources, customers’ buying journey, the site’s bounce rate, conver-sion rate, and SEO optimization needs. This is especially important since search traffic takes the lead globally and hence it’s crucial to work on opti-mizing your website for search engines.