Online fast fashion slumped towards end of festive season


“Consumers turned away from online fast fashion over the Christmas period”. That’s the key takeaway from a new report by digital advertising platform Cardlytics.


It analysed spending via more than 24 million UK bank cards between 21 and 31 December — so an interesting mix of the pre-Christmas ‘panic period’ and the post-Christmas clearance-fest — and found that individual transactions “flatlined”.

Average spend per transaction was £33 in 2022, just about the same as in 2021, despite inflation being much higher this time. And consumers were clearly budget-focused as the biggest spending boost came after the big day, once discounts had been widely applied. Cardlytics said average daily spend was up 18% between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, compared to pre-Christmas.

Comparing 2022 with spending activity in the past two years, retail channels losing out for the period as a whole included online fast fashion. Retailers there “experienced a major slump in sales, seeing spend fall 42% from 2020 levels as consumers returned to the high street for their wardrobe updates”.

That’s bad news for the likes of Boohoo and ASOS with the latter having already detailed how challenging festive trading was and Boohoo due to release its own report this week.

The online decline came as high street fashion names like Zara, H&M and Next saw growth in the period with a 29% rise on 2020 figures, although that was unsurprising given the restrictive nature of retail in late 2020 and also the understandable consumer caution back then.

The report also said that consumer spend on electricals declined again last year as shoppers pulled back their spending on big ticket items. UK electricals purchases dropped 20% over the last two years.

And digital marketplaces also saw a 9% decline in spend year-on-year, having seen an increase from 2020 to 2021.

But Sports and fitness brands such as GymShark, Sports Direct, JD Sports defIed the cost-of-living crisis, recording a 17% rise in spending over the last two years.

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