Science may be getting very close to answer the age-old question: “What do women really want?” Apparently, the answer is sales — and very hefty ones, at that.
Specifically, 45 percent of women must see a markdown of 41 percent or greater to even enter a store, according to Jim Shea, chief commercial officer of analytics firm First Insight Inc.
What’s more — they’re willing to go the distance for a good bargain: “[Approximately] 39 percent of consumers are willing to travel to another store to see if they can buy an item at a cheaper price,” Shea added.
Shea, who presented the data at the WWD Men’s Wear Summit this week, said the growing rate at which consumers — both women and men — are expecting deep discounts is becoming a huge challenge for retail.
In a January report, First Insight said constant discounting on the part of brands and retailers have created a “sale fatigue” for consumers who rarely expect to pay full price for merchandise anymore.
“Consider all of the real and made-up occasions retailers plan sales around: One-day sales, anniversaries, Singles Day, Black Friday, Veterans Day, Cyber Monday, Columbus Day, Back to School,” the report said. “With these constant sales in mind, why would consumers ever want to pay full price when another sale is right around the corner?”
First Insight found that, on average, across all womenswear categories tested between January 2013 and June 2016, consumers were willing to pay only 76 percent of the full price for products.
“Consumers not seeing the value at full price is a key driver of the markdown challenge that has been plaguing retailers for years,” the report noted.
With a noticeable uptick in retail bankruptcies during the past two years, the concerns surrounding deep discounting are further mounting.
In addition to grappling with digital shifts, high brick-and-mortar costs and macroeconomic challenges, experts say fashion firms are getting sucked into price wars that are hurting their ability to turn a viable profit.
Wet Seal, The Limited, Aéropostale, PacSun, BCBG, The Sports Authority and several others have filed for bankruptcy during the past year.