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Seasonal retailing being disrupted by online 'tribe'


Shoppers are breaking the “traditional retail cycle” when they shop online, it has been revealed.

Research from eBay Advertising and House of Fraser showed there was a 215 per cent spike in the number of UK searches for bikinis in January 2013 compared to December 2012. Between January and March over 1.1m searches were made for flip-flops.

House of Fraser also identified the “tribe” of unseasonable shoppers and found searches for bikinis surged 236 per cent on its website in December 2013 compared to the same month last year.

“Not only have we seen shoppers buying out of season at House of Fraser – but we’ve actually seen an increase in the number of unseasonable shoppers in the past year, explained Maria O’Flynn, Head of Online Marketing, House of Fraser.

“Winter remains a season of contrast, with millions more still searching for winter gear, so behavioural targeting is key, to segment and tailor messaging for these very different audiences and minimise wastage,” added Phyong Nguyen, Head of eBay Advertising UK.

Iona Carter, Director at Shoppercentric said the findings brought two things to mind.

“Firstly, there is the possibility that shoppers are using the internet to satisfy their need to plan ahead for summer (perhaps with a tinge of longing as we continue to get soaked each time we set foot outside the front door), or secondly – perhaps those shoppers seeking winter sun are now able (due to availability on the web) to buy new for their holidays rather than make do with last summer’s kit,” she said. “If the latter is prevalent, then this truly represents additional sales… you can rest assured that a healthy proportion of these shoppers will want yet another new bikini come the summer.”

Online retail sales rose 18 per cent year-on-year in December as consumers spent a staggering £91bn in 2013, according to IMRG.

Published on Thursday 30 January by Editorial Assistant

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