Britons are world's highest online spenders

Britons are spending more than any other nation online, as internet sales have jumped by more than a quarter according to a new report which analyses how the UK uses payment cards online reveals.

Card spending on the internet totalled 154 billion pounds in the UK in 2016, averaging 422 million pounds a day, figures from The UK Cards Association show. This is a rise of 28 per cent since 2014, when online spending amounted to 120 billion pounds.

The figures show the UK spends more online more per household than any other country, including Norway at USD 5,400, USA USD 4,500 and Australia USD 4,000.

Britons are world's highest online spenders

The UK has the largest e-commerce market in Europe

The UK has the largest e-commerce market in Europe and ranks third globally in terms of the total amount of online sales, behind China (20 times the size of the UK population) and the US.

Clothing bought online amounts to 23 percent of all fashion sales.

The report looks at internet spending patterns on debit and credit cards in the UK and finds that: A quarter (26 per cent) of all card spending was online last year, up from 22 per cent in 2014 1.8 billion purchases were made online in 2016, an average of 150 million a month. This is an increase of 38 per cent from 1.3 billion in 2014.

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said: “The internet enables millions of people to access services around the clock from wherever they are based. Payment cards have driven this revolution, providing an easy and secure way to shop online, whether it is to buy an app for your phone or a sofa for your living room. Since the early days of internet shopping there has been a host of innovations, from digital wallets to one click purchases, which bring enhanced security, choice and convenience for customers and which will lead to continued growth in the sector. The additional protection provided when using a card also gives consumers extra peace of mind when they are shopping online.”

The UK Cards Association is the trade body for the card payments industry in the UK, representing financial institutions which act as card issuers and acquirers.

Photo credit: Mr Porter iPad app

Gen Z shopping habits revealed

Generation Z shoppers are the most likely to 'webroom' or browse for fashion via phone or online, but go in-store to buy, says a new report.

According to Dealspotr, a crowdsourcing platform for savings, it conducted an online survey of shoppers to better understand their fashion shopping habits and preferences.

The survey included 303 participants across Generation Z (under the age of 20), Millenials (21-25) and Generation X (36 to 52) and Baby Boomers (53 and above).

The findings show teenagers are most likely to browse fashion on primarily their phones, with 47 percent responding that they do most of their "window shopping" for fashion on their phones. Millennials, GenXers, and Boomers browsed through a wider variety of shopping methods, but phones were still a popular method, with 39 percent of Millennials and 37 percent of GenX and Boomers saying they do most of their fashion browsing on their phones.

Shoppers prefer to purchase in-store

Where the findings get interesting, is that purchasing in-store is still the most popular method to make actually buy fashion across all age groups, although younger shoppers show a stronger preference to in-store purchases than older ones.

Gen Z shopping habits revealed

Purchases on laptop / tablets was the next most popular option, with older shoppers (GenX and Boomers) showing the strongest preference for buying via traditional websites.

Purchasing on phones was the least popular option, with Millennials showing the strongest preference.

"Webrooming" or "reverse showrooming" is a shopping pattern in which a shopper researches a purchase online or via phone, then comes into the store to make the purchase. Teens showed the strongest preference of all age groups to prefer this pattern for shopping when it came to fashion.

And where does Generation Z like to shop online?

Amazon is the clear leader in fashion shopping across age groups. Amazon's dominance is very pronounced among Millennials and GenX / Boomer shoppers. Among these demographics, Amazon is by a wide margin the most popular way to buy clothing. Among teens, Amazon is among the top choices, but was slightly less popular than fast fashion brands H&M and Forever 21.

Gen Z shopping habits revealed

Department stores performed poorly among teens and Millennial shoppers. Department stores performed well among older (GenX and Boomer) shoppers, with Target, Kohl's, Nordstrom, Macy's, and TJ Maxx topping the list.

Among department stores, only discounters Target performed well among Millennials and teens. Luxury department stores (Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's) performed poorly. They ranked among the bottom for teens and Millennials, and only Nordstrom performed well among Genx and Boomers.

Key qualities shoppers value in retailers

Across age groups, shoppers look for good value for the price as the most important attribute in a fashion shopping retailer. Compared to teens, Millennials, GenX and Boomer shoppers look for a good return policy as a primary characteristic in a fashion retailer. Teens showed a stronger preference towards good coupons as a primary criteria for choosing a fashion retailer.

Photo credit: Dealspotr.com

Petit Bateau opens 10th UK store

French brand Petit Bateau, known for its iconic Breton stripe, has expanded its retail presence in London with the opening of its 10th store in the UK.

The 678 square foot store located in London St Pancras Station opened earlier this month and will be celebrated with the exclusive launch of the new limited edition capsule collection designed by French illustrator Jean Jullien.

Petit Bateau opens 10th UK store

The exclusive Petit Bateau x Jean Jullien collection will launch on April 22 and will consist of a soft cotton baby grow for boys and girls, as well as a T-shirt for children and women. Each design features illustrations telling the story of two cheerful wolves setting sail on a voyage together across the English Channel in their iconic Petit Bateau raincoat and striped marinière top. Prices start at 16 pounds.

Petit Bateau opens 10th UK store

The 124-year-old French brand designs clothes for the whole family, known for its children's apparel and adult staples such as t-shirts and underwear. It has previously collaborated with Inès de la Fressange, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Japanese designer Kenta Matsushige, Fifi Lapin, and Christian Lacroix.

Petit Bateau opens 10th UK store

Petit Bateau currently employs more than 3,000 people, almost half of which are in France. In the UK, the brand has 10 stores across London, in addition, it is also stocked in Harrods, Selfridges, Urban Outfitters, Liberty, and Harvey Nichols.

Images: courtesy of Petit Bateau

British brand Belstaff just announced a new flagship in Tokyo. Bowing in the retail space Ginza Six, the store just opened on April 20.

The store held a private opening before its official launch. With the boutique opening its doors, Belstaff offers its first women’s line in Tokyo as well as its first complete offering of menswear. The store opens after the modern brand has opened retail spaces in Matsuzakaya Nagoya, Isetan Tokyo and Kobe in 2016. The opening represents a new development in retail for Belstaff, as the brand continues to expand internationally.

While the brand is known for its breathable, functional fabrics as well as modern, British style; the store will offer its new line at its flagship. Additionally, the new store will also offer an exclusive Ginza Capsule collection with lighter weight pieces with handmade materials from Japan. Prices range up to approximately 2,395 dollars for a hooded parka jacket, according to the brand’s site. It’s unclear how much the new line will be in price, but according to a statement released by the company, it will also include the brand’s first eyewear collection as well.

Appear Here, the London-based marketplace for short-term retail space, has made its US debut in New York City.

The firm, which was founded in 2013 by Ross Bailey, said on its blog that it was only a “matter of time before it went stateside” and that New York City was the perfect place to “kick off” its US expansion.

Appear Here’s mission is "to build a global network of spaces” to enable retailers to “make their ideas happen” and has been successful in London launching more than 2,500 pop-ups, and last year it also expanded to Paris as its first international location. The service has been used by brands such as Net-a-Porter, LVMH and Apple.

As part of the expansion, Appear Here has opened an office on Broadway to facilitate the pop-up spaces and has already partnered with some of the city’s well-known landlords including Thor Equities and Simon Property Group.

Appear Here was named one of the UK’s most innovative companies by Bloomberg and has raised 9.4 million dollars from investors since 2013 including Balderton Capital, Forward Partners and MMC Ventures.

Dior stages two shows for opening of Japanese boutique

Dior, which will be opening its largest ever store in Japan, has announced that they will be hosting both a haute couture show and a men's runway show.

For the couture collection, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri has designed eight looks inspired by Japan. Kris van Assche, the designer for Dior Homme, will present the first ever men's pre-fall line for the brand. In the spirt of see-now-buy-now, the line will be available for in store purchase the next day.

Chiuri has also designed a cherry blossom themed ready-to-wear and accessory collection that will be sold exclusively at the new store in Ginza. The line will include dresses, bags and jackets. The words "Jardon Japonais Christian Dior 1953" are etched across the garments, in reference to a similar items Christian Dior himself designed back then.

Dior staging haute couture and menswear show in honor of Ginza store opening

Th new five-story Dior boutique anchors Ginza Six, a new luxury shopping destination that also features luxury brands including Céline, Saint Laurent and Valentino. Ginza Six has become a popular tourist shopping destination, and Japan is also showing quality economic growth.

Moody's latest report on Japan says that the country's economy is showing evidence of incremental progress of reflation. Although the yen has weakened since September 2016, the government announced a fiscal package last August that is expected to provide support to the domestic economy.

As for Dior's new store, it features a spacious men's level on the lower floor, three smaller floors for women's merchandise, and a café that is part of a collaboration with Pierre Hermé. The spacious interior of the store was designed by Peter Marino.

Dior has a storied history in Japan. In 1959, Empress Michiko had the fashion house design three dresses for her civil wedding ceremony.

Last year, even after facing a period of economic downturn, the Japanese luxury goods market still saw some moderate growth. According to a report by Euromonitor, consumer confidence rose to a higher than expected level in Japan during December 2016 with consumer perception improving across most of the major markets.

Dior CEO Sidney Toledano told WWD that, "The important thing in Japan is that we want to continue. We believe in the market. We believe in the market as one of the key luxury markets in the world. Japanese customers are loyal and they are looking for quality.”

photo: via Dior.com
Supermarkets drive growth in value clothing market

Value retailers account for almost one-quarter of the total UK clothing market, according to estimates from retail think tank, Fung Global Retail and Technology, and that growth is being driven by supermarkets and online-only retailers.

The value apparel market was worth nearly 10 billion pounds by the end of 2016 and sales have increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3.4 percent over the past five years, suggesting it is set to continue to grow in 2017.

John Mercer, lead UK analyst at Fung Global Retail and Technology said: “Our research has pinpointed two major growth segments. First, grocery retailers are growing apace, apparently helped by the closure of the BHS chain in August 2016.

“Second, Internet pure-play retailers are drawing in shoppers with ultralow prices and fashionable ranges. Meanwhile, undistinguished, middle-ground retailers targeting shoppers in the family life stage or older shoppers have struggled to gain traction, just as their midmarket retail peers have.”

Supermarkets drive growth in value clothing market

The report reveals that supermarkets have becoming even more prominent in the value apparel market in the last 12 months. With own-label ranges at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons appearing to have been boosted by the closure of the BHS chain, says Fung Global Retail and Technology. With each of these supermarkets remarking that they had seen strong apparel growth, particularly over the Christmas 2016 period.

Online retailers growing value clothing market due to rapid turnaround

In addition, online retailers such as Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Missguided are bringing fast-fashion to the value market, as they can take ranges from concept to sale in as little as two weeks. This rapid turnaround in trends has helped sales growth, with Boohoo stating that sales for fiscal year 2017, ending February 28, were up about 50 percent, while Missguided recently reported that sales were up 34 percent in the year ended March 2016, and that sales rose 60 percent in the subsequent six-month period.

Mercer added: “The structural winners, such as Boohoo.com, are those that offer a fast-fashion product to a young target customer. Unlike more middle-ground value retailers, these young-fashion players are not dependent on mopping up share from the BHS closure.”

The research also added that new entrants, such as Pep&Co and Polish brand Reserved, which is set to open its first UK store this summer, as well as Amazon, are all placing further pressure on longstanding incumbents such as Matalan, New Look and Blue Inc.

Based on Euromonitor data for 2016, Asda has the greatest share of the value clothing market with 27,8 percent, closely followed by Primark with 21.8 percent, with New Look at 10.3 percent, Matalan with 9.8 percent and H&M at 8.1 percent rounding off the top five.

Images: courtesy of George at Asda and Primark

Orchestra to launch in the US

Orchestra, France’s leading childrenswear and maternity retailer and the sixth-largest in the world, has launched its first English language website ahead of its debut store in the US.

The childrenswear brand, which operates 700 stores in 40 countries throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa, is set to open its first US-based newborn/children’s fashion retail store in the King of Prussia Mall, which is one of the largest malls in America outside of Philadelphia, at the end of May 2017.

"We are thrilled to finally introduce our unique and fashionable brand of children's clothes and footwear to US customers," said Orchestra director and vice-chairman, Agathe Boidin. "Orchestra has experienced enormous success around the globe and we are looking forward to launching the brand in the United States."

The store follows the launch of Orchestra's first English-language website, us.shop-orchestra.com, which allows shoppers in the US to browse and buy all of Orchestra's designs for the early years of childhood, as well as sign up to its loyalty scheme, Club Orchestra that offers exclusive discounts.

Family-owned Orchestra is known for its playful and innovative designs and has become known as a ‘one-stop shop’ for parents and expectant mothers, selling more than 80 million pieces a year. It offers more than 3,000 designs each season for babies through to size 14 girls and boys.

Image: screenshot of Orchestra US website

Juicy Couture set to pull out of the UK market

London - Although Juicy Couture has seen somewhat of a revival recently, it seems as if parent company's Authentic Brands Group best efforts were not enough to keep the brand afloat in the UK. The fashion brand, best known for its bling velour tracksuits favoured by the likes of Paris Hilton over a decade ago, is set to pull out of the UK market.

At the moment the label currently counts two stores in the London - one on Regent Street and another in Westfield White City, in addition to an outlet in Bicester and a store in Bluewater. But a report from the Telegraph states Juicy Couture is set to close its UK stores and will only retain an online presence in the UK.

Juicy Couture also counts a number of concessions in Harrods, Selfridges and Topshop in the UK, but it remains unclear what Authentic Brands Group aims to do with its concessions. The move follows on from fellow US brand Banana Republic's withdrawal from the UK amid increasing difficult trading conditions.

ABG acquired Juicy Couture four years ago for 195 million dollars. The licensing company is best known for its celebrity brands, such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. FashionUnited has contacted Authentic Brands Group for additional commentary.

Photo: Screenshot Juicy Couture website.

Hermes trials self-driving robots in London

Parcel delivery company Hermes has launched a trial in London to test out its self-driving robots in partnership with Starship Technologies.

The self-driving delivery robots aim to offer a viable alternative to drones, especially in highly developed cities such as London, said the delivery firm, and the testing will see the robots delivering items in the London borough of Southwark.

Initially, the trial will allow the delivery firm to offer limited thirty-minute time slots for the collection of parcels, either for items being returned to retailers, or for items being sent by small businesses sending items using MyHermes. Moving forward it said the service could offer greater scheduling and tracking capabilities.

Hermes trials self-driving robots in London

Each robot is 55 centimeter high by 70 centimeter long and is capable of moving up to 10 kilograms of parcels. The six-wheeled boxes move at up to 4 miles-per-hour and can be used within a two-mile radius of their control centre. Customers will be able to open it using a link generated by a smartphone app.

Hermes chief executive, Carole Woodhead, said: “Starship Technologies is a highly innovative and pioneering firm. We are extremely pleased to utilise their expertise to explore exciting new ways that will further strengthen our portfolio of services and offer greater choice and convenience for customers.

“We can already see first-hand the success they’ve had with food deliveries in London, and we are excited to team up with them in a bid to revolutionise the home delivery marketplace.”

Hermes trials self-driving robots in London

The goal is for the robots to be 99 percent autonomous in future but can be connected to a human operator via the internet or GPS. It is also planned that in the future one operator can control several robots and take over control if need be.

London is the latest city to trial the self-driving robots the project has already seen test deliveries in the Ottensen, Volksdorf and Grindel suburbs of Hamburg, Germany.

Images: courtesy of Starship Technologies