What influences Canadian fashion shoppers?

A survey shows what factors impact the purchase journey, both in-store and online.

Canadian consumers typically make fashion-related purchases in traditional store environments, but online platforms and opportunities for personalization still have a major impact on their purchase journey.

That’s according to Facebook IQ and Accenture, which polled 1,346 people in Canada about their purchase journey within the fashion category.

While 71% of Canadians say they enjoy fashion, many want the shopping process to be efficient, with 47% wanting it to be done as quickly as possible. With choices expanding due to extended selections available through ecommerce, indecision is becoming a hurdle to efficiency.

But the report suggests a couple factors that might help consumers make a choice and improve their shopping experience: 74% of Canadians say having at least one form of personalization in the shopping experience helps them make a purchase decision, while 41% of millennial shoppers say they are more likely to buy from a brand that shares their morals and values.

Digital channels continue to be a major part of the purchase journey, with 68% of respondents saying that online sites or apps play a role in inspiring their fashion choices, and 32% saying they hear about new brands and products through their mobile device. Online sites are also drivers of more unplanned decisions, with 43% saying it lead to more spontaneous purchases.

Online inspiration also comes from the people whom shoppers follow on social media, according to roughly one quarter of respondents, with 47% of shoppers who follow fashion influencers saying that they’ve made a purchase after seeing an influencer promote it. The trust placed in influencers is also high, with 55% of those who follow fashion influencers believing they “would never promote something they don’t believe in just to make money through branded content.”

Outside of endorsements from influencers, 31% of respondents said user and customer reviews influenced their purchase decisions, compared to 24% who said the same about reviews from professionals or experts. Family and friends also have a major influence, especially when it comes to older shoppers, with 41% of those over the age of 35 saying posts from friends or loved ones on social media helped them make a purchase decision.

Canadian shoppers are also open to fashion brands inserting themselves into online fashion-related conversations, with 74% saying they are amicable to brand activity in a fashion-related community created by a person. However, that interaction is a two-way street that works best when it is authentic: 26% of 18- to 34-year-old respondents would join a fashion community started by a brand or retailer, but only if they had the opportunity to provide feedback and influence the brand.

While 80% of shoppers say they usually buy products from a bricks and mortar store, 58% use their smartphone for a shopping-related activity while they are there. Those activities vary widely, covering things like looking for promotions and discounts (21% of respondents), comparing products (19%), comparing prices (18%), finding reviews (17%) or taking a photo of a product they are considering (16%). However, 23% of millennial shoppers said they didn’t make their most recent fashion purchase through a mobile platform because it took too long to complete an order.