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When Online Shopping Becomes Infectious

In this Insight Flash, we use CE Vision to:
  • Assess the impact of customers converting to online shopping amid store closures due to COVID-19
  • Discover which brands are benefiting from the move to online shopping
  • Find out if shoppers are moving to online in a specific geographic region

Among the many disruptions caused by COVID-19, retail chains have been shuttering their stores, leaving only online shopping.  CE Vision allows retailers to track the impact of these changes, estimating what percent of sales they may be able to retain from online shopping and seeing real-time how their conversion of customers to the online channel is tracking versus competitors.  CE Vision allows users to drill down into not only channel, but how the specific DMAs where coronavirus has hit at different times have fared.  This report will look at Footwear/Athletic companies specifically, but the same detailed level of analysis is available across industries and subindustries.

One important analysis for Footwear/Athletic companies to do is to look at how online shoppers in the subindustry may behave differently than offline shoppers.  In the last year, online shoppers have spent their paychecks very differently than offline shoppers.  On a share of wallet basis, indexed to the overall population, online Footwear/Athletic shoppers were most likely to over-index on DTC operations of boutique comfortable footwear companies like Merrell, Eastbay, Rothy’s, and Allbirds.  Land’s End was also a popular destination for online Footwear/Athletic shoppers.  Offline Footwear/Athletic shoppers were more likely to over-index to multi-brand chains where they could shop a larger variety.  The top retailers these customers over-indexed to included Shoe Carnival, Champs, Famous Footwear, and Boot Barn.  Skechers was the only DTC brand that showed up in the top five over-indexed brands for these shoppers.

Share of Wallet

Online Footwear or Athletic Shoppers: 
Top 20 Brands Share of Wallet
Indexed to Overall Population

Note:  Wallet share of each brand among those who shopped Footwear/Athletic in stated channel indexed to wallet share for overall population, 3/7/19-3/6/20.

One hope for many companies choosing to shutter offline operations is that current shoppers will switch to shopping online.  Looking at four Footwear/Athletic brands shows large variation in the percentage of offline shoppers who cross-shopped online in the last six months.  Lululemon showed the highest cross-shop rate in our tracked set at 22%.  Nike, the next largest, had half the cross-shop rate at 11%.  Adidas and Foot Locker were behind that at 8% and 6%, respectively. All of the chains, however, saw much larger spend from cross-shoppers than from those who just shopped offline.  Nike saw the largest bump, with cross-shoppers spending twice as much as offline-only shoppers.  Lululemon cross-shoppers spent almost 70% more than offline-only shoppers.  Adidas and Foot Locker cross-shoppers spent about 50% more than those who didn’t shop online.

Online/Offline Cross-Shop

Note:  Cross-shoppers defined as among offline shoppers of given brand, the subset also shopping online, 9/1/19-2/29/20.

Finally, there is the possibility that shoppers who were formerly offline-only could become online shoppers while confined to their homes.  CE Vision allows users to drill down on several levels of geographic specificity for both store locations and customer home locations.  Looking just at the Seattle-Tacoma DMA, where coronavirus started spreading earlier than in the rest of the country, trends seem promising.  Two-thirds of online Lululemon shoppers the week ending 3/1/20 in Seattle-Tacoma were new online shoppers, double the average of the three weeks before.  42% of online Nike shoppers in that week were new, just under double the average of the three weeks before as well.  Adidas, interestingly, actually saw a decline in its new online shopper percentage, perhaps due to its European branding.

It seems that while malls and shopping centers may be quiet for now, the American consumer spirit lives on, and there is substantial opportunity for companies to grow their online sales from both current cross-shoppers and new converts.

New vs. Repeat Shoppers

SEATTLE-TACOMA DMA -  Percentage New Shoppers at Brand Online Chart
Note:  % of online shoppers at given brand who had not made online purchase at brand in past 365 days