Women’s apparel buyers in vogue

Jan 01, 2008 10:30 PM  By

Most women love to shop, especially for clothes and shoes. That’s why women’s apparel, with 33.4 million names, remains by far the largest segment of the apparel market. In fact, women’s apparel accounts for 57% of all consumer apparel catalog buyers available for list rental or exchange, based on data from Paradysmatera.

The New York-based media brokerage firm notes that the women’s apparel catalog market has grown over the past two years, up 8.5% from the third quarter of 2005. In the past year, the sement grew 1.8%, adding 593,400 names.

Victoria’s Secret is the queen of this universe, with 5.9 million buyers. (For more on the company, see “Victoria’s Secret’s DC woes mount,” right.)

Chadwick’s and J.C. Penney follow, each with nearly 2 million names. Woman Within, the plus-size brand from Redcats USA that changed its name from Lane Bryant earlier in the year, has 1.8 million names. Coldwater Creek rounds out the top five with 1.6 million names.

Sportswear Athleta wins the prize for percentage growth. The company’s house file increased 62.6%, or by 77,000 names, during the past year, thanks to stepped-up prospecting.

Women’s apparel marketers frequently dangle incentives in front of shoppers to entice them to make a purchase. Nearly half (47%) of all promotions tracked for the segment through the third quarter of 2007 were incentives.

What types of incentives do women’s apparel mailers favor? The most popular is deferred payment, seen in 20% of all offers and used by mailers such as Newport News, Silhouettes, and Spiegel.

Free shipping is also prevalent in women’s clothing titles, as this incentive was used in 19% of all promotions tracked in the third quarter of 2007.

And then there’s good old fashioned discounts. Use of this type of incentive was up from 12% in the third quarter of 2006 to 16% for the same period in 2007. As the fourth quarter kicks in, discount offers typically increase as mailers aim to goose up holiday sales.

House file universe: women’s apparel catalogs
3Q
2005
4Q
2005
1Q
2006
2Q
2006
3Q
2006
4Q
2006
1Q
2007
2Q
2007
3Q
2007
Total universe 30.8 31.0 31.6 32.9 32.8 32.9 33.0 33.3 33.4
Women’s apparel catalogs with the largest active-buyer files
Rank List name 3Q 2007 house file universe Average order
1 Victoria’s Secret Masterfile 5,881,700 $110
2 Chadwick’s 1,951,028 $90
3 J.C. Penney Women’s Apparel and Accessories Buyers 1,927,387 $98
4 Woman Within Catalog Buyers 1,820,088 $76
5 Coldwater Creek 1,644,787 $120
Source: ParadyszMatera