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Learning 2 Visions Scale Business

2023 Ecommerce Discounting & Promotions Report

US Apparel Shoppers Consumer Research

Yates Jarvis

Key Findings

A majority of shoppers wait for discounts. To be specific, 62% of shoppers primarily delay clothing purchases until they can secure them at a discount.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) and coupon codes are preferred by most shoppers. Of all respondents, 58% believed that BFCM and coupon codes provided great deals, while only 46% held a similar belief for subscribing to a brand’s email or text/SMS services.

Male shoppers have a higher preference for BFCM deals. Males were found to believe in the superior value of BFCM deals 15% more often than females.

Most consumers prefer established brands. The study indicated that 44% of shoppers leaned toward clothing from tried and true brands, with 22% preferring new, up and coming brands. The remaining 34% expressed no preference.

There is a generational divide in the trust toward coupon codes. On average, Gen Z trusts coupon codes 54% more than Baby Boomers, with Millennials falling just 4.5% short of Gen Z’s trust level. Meanwhile, Gen X’s trust level is 7.8% higher than Baby Boomers’.

Millennials value subscription deals most. Among all generations, Millennials exhibited the strongest inclination toward deals stemming from brand email or text subscriptions. Conversely, Gen X demonstrated the least inclination towards this avenue for deals.

Major discounts can significantly sway purchase decisions. When all other factors are equal, shoppers are approximately 2x more likely to purchase a product with a 20% discount over a product at average cost. This likelihood rises dramatically to 99% when the discount offered is 50% as opposed to 20%.

Perceived scarcity can alter purchasing decisions. Given equal product properties, including price, shoppers are only 7.6% more likely to buy a product due to it selling out. However, if the selling out item is also discounted by 30%, shoppers are then 178% more likely to purchase.

Price & Promotion hold the highest importance in decision-making. In comparison to the factor of Uniqueness, Price & Promotion is 31 percentage points more crucial to shoppers.

Methodology Summary

The research conducted by 2 Visions, an esteemed consulting and research firm in ecommerce and consumer behavior studies, delved into contemporary ecommerce apparel shopper behavior through a nationally executed investigation from April 15 to April 30, 2023. With a robust participant selection process encompassing 2,200 Americans across diverse generational segments and meticulous demographic representation, alongside a combination of traditional surveys and predictive analysis, this study achieved a marginal error of only 2.09% and a 95% confidence level, offering invaluable insights for strategic decision-making in the ecommerce apparel sector.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents


In an ecommerce world where global online retail sales are projected to reach a staggering $8.1 trillion by the year 2026, standing out amidst the noise and effectively converting browsers into buyers has never been more challenging. Many online ecommerce businesses are grappling with this very quandary, wrestling to delineate the strategies that once fostered success in brick-and-mortar retail and those that will resonate with today’s digital consumer.

Indeed, the rapid shift in customer behavior in the online landscape has added another layer of complexity, with noticeable generational disparities in apparel shopping preferences. The crux of the issue lies in discounting and promotional strategies: How much is too much? Ecommerce leaders are anxious about the potential detrimental effects of excessive discounting on their businesses. They strive to discern the most productive levels of discounting and promotions for their diverse customer segments, a task made more difficult by the unique and often starkly divergent needs of these segments.

This understanding, however, is a key driver of success in the ecommerce space. Grasping the idiosyncratic needs of each customer segment enables a company to meticulously craft and execute discount and promotional strategies, maximizing purchase likelihood while avoiding any unwarranted compromise on profit. Yet, pricing and promotion are only pieces of a much larger puzzle. Apparel shoppers today also give weight to factors such as product affinity, scarcity, and uniqueness, all of which, intriguingly, impact a consumer’s likelihood to complete a purchase.

The 2023 Ecommerce Discounting & Promotions Report serves as a navigational tool for ecommerce leaders, focusing on apparel shopping trends. Through “Understanding Discount-Oriented Consumer Behavior,” it uncovers the potent role of discounts and promotions in purchase decisions. The “Navigating the Promotional Preferences of Ecommerce Shoppers” section offers insights into shoppers’ varied responses to promotional strategies. The report illuminates brand loyalty and shopping patterns in the “Consumer Brand Preferences and Shopping Behavior in the Apparel Sector” section. “Generational Differences in Coupon Code Trust and Deal-Seeking Behavior” reveals variations in discount trustworthiness perceptions across generations. Further, “The Power of Pricing: How Discounts Influence Purchasing Decisions” examines the compelling impact of discounts on consumer behavior. Finally, “Balancing Factors: The Intricacies of Product Attractiveness in Ecommerce” analyzes how factors like price, scarcity, and uniqueness interplay to influence product attractiveness. Each section in this report contributes valuable insights for ecommerce leaders striving to enhance their promotional strategies and understand their loyal customers better, ultimately fostering growth in the ecommerce apparel sector.

In summary, this research report, armed with a wealth of empirical data and insights, offers a roadmap to understanding and leveraging the complex dynamics of apparel shopper consumer behavior surrounding discounting and promotions. As a result, it empowers ecommerce leaders to make more informed decisions, tailor strategies to meet the nuanced needs of their diverse customer segments, and maximize business outcomes.

Part 1 – Understanding Discount-Oriented Consumer Behavior

It’s a well-known adage in business that understanding your customer is paramount. To ecommerce leaders, this sentiment isn’t a platitude; it’s a pillar of strategic planning and day-to-day operations. In the ever-evolving digital marketplace, keeping a finger on the pulse of consumer behavior is more than just advantageous—it’s a matter of survival.

As online commerce continues to boom, a potent challenge has emerged for ecommerce businesses: the increasing importance of discounting in consumer behavior.

Once upon a time, we might have associated discount shopping with a specific demographic or socioeconomic bracket. However, our research challenges this assumption and underscores the reality that ecommerce leaders must reckon with today: discounting is a powerful force in shaping purchase decisions across all customer segments.

The Findings

An astonishing 62% of shoppers primarily wait to buy clothing until they can secure it via a discount. This is not a negligible portion of the market but a considerable majority. Such a percentage means that over half of your potential customers, regardless of their demographic profile or personal tastes, are significantly motivated by discounted prices.

  • A majority of shoppers, 93.6%, will wait for a discount at least occasionally when purchasing clothing, suggesting strong potential for promotional strategies.
  • About a third of the shoppers (31.6%) always wait to buy clothing until they can get some sort of discount, demonstrating the power of persistent discount strategies.
  • With a mean score of 3.7, the data indicates that on average, consumers are leaning more towards waiting for discounts before purchasing clothing.
  • There’s a relatively low spread in responses, as indicated by the standard deviation of 1.2, showing that consumer behavior regarding discounts is relatively uniform.
  • The mode value is 5, meaning the most common response was that individuals ‘always’ wait for a discount before purchasing clothing, further underscoring the significance of discounts in the apparel sector.
  • Over four-fifths of respondents (82.1%) rate their tendency to wait for discounts at least a 3 on a scale of 5, indicating that waiting for discounts is a significant factor in most respondents’ shopping habits.
  • The median score is 4, meaning half of respondents wait for a discount more often than not. This suggests that more aggressive discount strategies might be more appealing to at least half of shoppers.

Strategy Implications

Cost Leadership vs. Value Differentiation

The fact that a large majority of online apparel shoppers are discount-oriented brings to the fore a classic strategic conundrum: should your business strive for cost leadership, making discounts a central part of your value proposition, or should it focus on differentiation, offering unique value that customers will pay a premium for?

These findings suggest that an ecommerce leader may need to strike a balance. Without discounting strategies, your business could miss out on over half the market. But too much discounting might threaten your margins and brand value. Finding the right mix will be crucial.

Marketing & Ecommerce Implications

Promotion Timing and Customer Segmentation

With a significant percentage of your customer base waiting for discounts, timing and segmentation of promotions become essential aspects of your marketing strategy. When should discounts be offered? How deep should the discounts be? To which customer segments should they be targeted? These are questions that your marketing and ecommerce teams will need to explore.

Apparel Shopper Behavior Implications

The Power of the Waiting Game

Consumers are savvier than ever before. They know that if they wait, chances are high that a discount will become available. This doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to pay full price for the right product, but it does illustrate that price sensitivity and patience can be a potent combination in the online shopping world.

Wrap Up

In the rapidly evolving digital marketplace, our comprehensive research has unearthed a profound shift in consumer behavior, which emphasizes the rising influence of discounting on purchasing decisions. Astoundingly, our findings suggest that a majority, approximately 62%, of consumers are predominantly discount-oriented, choosing to defer their purchases until they can avail themselves of a discount. This phenomenon isn’t limited to a specific demographic or socioeconomic bracket; instead, it pervades across all customer segments. Consequently, ecommerce leaders are confronted with an onerous strategic challenge: balancing cost leadership through discounts against value differentiation, offering unique value that justifies premium prices.

Furthermore, given the preponderance of discount-driven behavior, ecommerce and marketing strategies necessitate meticulous planning regarding promotion timing and customer segmentation. The aim is to identify the optimal moments for offering discounts, gauge the depth of these discounts, and discern which customer segments to target. This necessitates grappling with an insightful realization about today’s consumers; they are notably savvy, displaying a keen awareness that patience often yields discounted prices. While this doesn’t preclude their willingness to pay full price for the right product, it undoubtedly illustrates a potent amalgamation of price sensitivity and patience in the realm of online shopping. The future of ecommerce pivots on acknowledging and adapting to these fundamental, discount-oriented shifts in consumer behavior.

Part 2 – Navigating the Promotional Preferences of Ecommerce Shoppers

The digital era has dramatically shifted the landscape of consumer decision-making. In the crowded and competitive ecommerce space, understanding and responding to consumer attitudes is vital. As such, insight into promotional preferences can help ecommerce leaders craft strategies that resonate deeply with shoppers. For instance, how do customers perceive Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) and coupon discount codes compared to brand subscriptions?

Let’s explore this issue by shedding light on what our recent findings suggest about these promotional preferences and their implications for ecommerce leaders like you.

The Findings

The data tells a fascinating story: 58% of shoppers believe that BFCM and coupon codes provided great deals. Interestingly, only 46% thought that subscribing to a brand’s email or text/sms yielded significant deals. Furthermore, males were more inclined to perceive BFCM deals as the best of the year, 15% more often than females. This discrepancy hints at fascinating nuances in consumer behavior that warrant further examination. Note: Apparel shoppers were allowed to indicate when they felt that a combination of or all of the options presented the best deals of the year equally and were not forced to just pick one.

  • Approximately 57.7% of respondents believe that finding online coupon codes can lead to the best deals.
  • More than a quarter of respondents (26.1%) strongly agree that the best deals are found by seeking online coupon codes.
  • The mean rating for the belief in finding the best deals via online coupon codes is 3.7 out of 5, suggesting a relatively positive inclination towards this method.
  • 58% of respondents agree that BFCM provides the best deals of the year.
  • 28.1% of respondents strongly believe that the best deals of the year are offered during BFCM.
  • The average rating for BFCM providing the best deals of the year is 3.6 out of 5, indicating a relatively favorable sentiment towards these shopping events.
  • Close to half of the respondents (46.2%) agree that the best deals come from subscribing to brands’ emails or texts.
  • 19.2% of respondents strongly believe that subscribing to brand communications leads to the best deals.
  • The average rating for this belief is 3.4 out of 5, suggesting a more mixed or neutral opinion towards the effectiveness of subscribing to brand communications for best deals.

Strategy Implications

Tailoring Promotional Strategies

The strategic implications of these findings are far-reaching. They underscore the necessity of tailoring promotional strategies to consumer perceptions. Given that BFCM and coupon codes are more favored than brand subscriptions, ecommerce leaders might want to emphasize these forms of promotion while reevaluating and optimizing their subscription-based discount strategies.

Moreover, the gender disparity in perceptions of BFCM indicates the potential advantage of gender-targeted promotional campaigns. However, it’s essential to approach this with sensitivity and respect for all customers.

Marketing & Ecommerce Implications

Marketing Communications and Sales Channel Optimization

Marketing communications should reflect these promotional preferences. Ecommerce platforms can be configured to highlight BFCM and coupon code promotions more prominently, potentially driving higher conversions. At the same time, marketing teams should experiment with creative approaches to promote email or text/sms subscriptions, particularly focusing on their value proposition.

Apparel Shopper Behavior Implications

Gendered Perceptions and Promotional Attitudes

The gender disparity in BFCM perceptions points towards an interesting behavioral trend. Men seem to have a higher affinity for big event-based sales, while women might be more open to other forms of promotions. This difference might extend beyond BFCM and could influence the effectiveness of various promotional strategies across gender lines.

Wrap Up

The dynamism of the digital era, marked by an increasingly competitive ecommerce landscape, underscores the importance of understanding consumer attitudes, particularly towards promotional strategies. According to our recent research findings, there’s a distinct preference among consumers for Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) and coupon codes, with 58% believing these provide great deals. However, only 46% felt the same about discounts obtained through subscribing to a brand’s email or text/SMS services. Further, males were 15% more likely than females to perceive BFCM deals as the most attractive of the year. These insights offer a unique window into the nuances of consumer behavior and their implications on promotional strategies in the ecommerce space.

Arising from these findings are significant strategic implications for ecommerce leaders. They underscore the necessity of tailoring promotional strategies to match consumer perceptions, emphasizing BFCM and coupon codes, while simultaneously optimizing subscription-based discount tactics.

Moreover, the gender disparity in perceptions of BFCM deals indicates potential advantages in gender-targeted promotional campaigns, albeit these should be executed with sensitivity and respect. Additionally, marketing communications should mirror these promotional preferences, configuring ecommerce platforms to prominently highlight BFCM and coupon code promotions to drive conversions. Meanwhile, a more innovative approach is required to promote email or text/SMS subscriptions, particularly focusing on their unique value proposition. The gender difference in BFCM perceptions uncovers an intriguing trend in consumer behavior, suggesting men have a higher affinity for large event-based sales, while women might be more receptive to other promotion types. This could influence the effectiveness of promotional strategies across gender lines, presenting a fascinating avenue for future exploration.

Part 3 – Consumer Brand Preferences and Shopping Behavior in the Apparel Sector

Ecommerce business leaders need to have their fingers on the pulse of consumer trends. Knowing your customers’ preferences is essential for any ecommerce business that aims to stay ahead of the curve. Let’s explore some intriguing findings from our recent study on consumer preferences and behavior in the apparel sector.

The Findings

Our study reveals that brand preferences are a significant factor driving shopping behavior. According to the findings, 44% of shoppers gravitate towards tried and true brands, with these customers placing high value on the item being a ‘have-to-have’ piece. On the other hand, 22% prefer clothing from new and upcoming brands. This segment of customers showed a strong preference for unique pieces and limited availability items and were more likely to take advantage of 25-30% discounts. A significant 34% of consumers remained indifferent to brand type, potentially making their choices based on other factors.

  • Over half of consumers (55.1%) have at least a moderate preference for a certain type of brand.
  • A majority (79.7%) of consumers show at least some preference for specific types of brands.
  • Only 11.8% of consumers strongly prefer to buy from a certain type of brand.
    The standard deviation of 1.2 shows that consumers’ preferences for types of brands vary significantly.
  • The mean of 2.7, which is closer to 3.0 (the median and mode), indicates that most consumers have a neutral to slight preference for certain types of brands.
    Less than a quarter of consumers (21.9%) have a strong or very strong preference for a certain type of brand.
  • Conversely, 44.9% of consumers show little to no strong preference for a specific type of brand.
  • With a mean value of 2.7 and a mode of 3.0, shoppers generally exhibit moderate preferences for types of brands when shopping.

Strategy Implications

Aligning Product Offerings with Consumer Brand Preferences

These findings underscore the importance of a multi-pronged strategy that addresses the different needs and wants of various customer segments. Tried and true brands need to ensure their offerings resonate deeply with their target audience. Unique, limited-availability items and attractive discounts can be effective ways to draw consumers towards new and upcoming brands.

Marketing & Ecommerce Implications

Personalized Marketing and Ecommerce Experience

The distinct preferences and behaviors of these consumer groups call for personalized marketing and ecommerce experiences. It would be beneficial to present new and unique items at attractive discounts to shoppers who prefer new brands. On the other hand, showcasing must-have items from established brands would likely appeal more to the 44% of shoppers who favor tried and true brands.

Apparel Shopper Behavior Implications

The Interplay of Brand Preference and Shopping Behavior

This study illuminates the interplay between brand preference and shopping behavior. Those who favor established brands seem to seek items they deem indispensable, suggesting a preference for practicality and quality. Meanwhile, those who are drawn to new brands seem attracted to uniqueness and scarcity, pointing to a desire for exclusivity and novelty.

Wrap Up

This recent study on consumer preferences and behavior in the apparel sector presents fascinating insights that can significantly influence ecommerce strategies. According to the findings, brand preferences indeed play a substantial role in shaping shopping behavior. It was observed that 44% of shoppers tend to choose established brands, viewing these as essential items, whereas 22% favor clothing from emerging brands, drawn by uniqueness, limited availability, and the lure of discounts. Notably, a significant 34% of consumers exhibited an indifference towards brand type, basing their decisions potentially on other variables, thus underscoring the multifaceted nature of consumer decision-making processes.

These findings demand a nuanced and multifaceted strategy that caters to the different needs and expectations of the diverse consumer segments. Established brands should focus on deep resonance with their target audiences, while emerging brands could benefit from offering unique items, limited-availability items, and attractive discounts. These findings necessitate personalized marketing and ecommerce experiences, suggesting the need for showcasing must-have items from established brands and unique items at discounted prices from newer brands. The study reveals the intricate interplay between brand preference and shopping behavior, with a proclivity for practicality and quality among established brand consumers, and an affinity for exclusivity and novelty among consumers of emerging brands. This knowledge holds the potential to profoundly influence ecommerce strategies, tailoring them to meet the idiosyncrasies of consumer preferences.

Part 4 – Generational Differences in Coupon Code Trust and Deal-Seeking Behavior

Understanding your customers is fundamental to building a successful ecommerce business. The ability to identify and navigate generational differences in shopping behaviors can be a game-changer. Today, we turn the spotlight on some intriguing generational trends in coupon code trust and deal-seeking behavior in the apparel ecommerce sector.

The Findings

Our recent study has uncovered key generational differences when it comes to coupon code trust and deal-seeking behavior. For instance, Generation Z and Millennials trust coupon codes more to provide the best deals compared to Baby Boomers and Gen X, with Gen Z leading at approximately 54% more trust than Baby Boomers. When it comes to deals from subscribing to brands’ emails or texts, Millennials find the most value in these avenues, with Gen X showing the least interest among the generations.

Interestingly, when it comes to waiting for discounts before purchasing clothing, older generations, specifically Baby Boomers and Gen X, are more likely to do so than their younger counterparts. However, the tendency to wait for discounts spans across all generations.

  • Millennials and Gen Z show a strong preference for online coupon codes, with 65.3% and 68.3% respectively stating they find the best deals through this method. In contrast, Gen X and Baby Boomers are less inclined to use coupon codes, with only 47.9% and 44.4% respectively, agreeing with this statement.
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are well regarded across all generations. However, Millennials seem to be the most enthusiastic with a 65.1% favorability, slightly higher than Gen Z’s 58.3%. Gen X and Baby Boomers’ preference for these deals are fairly close, with 53.2% and 53.4% respectively.
  • Regarding the perception of getting the best deals by subscribing to brands’ emails or texts, Millennials again lead the pack with 51.5%, followed closely by Gen Z at 49.2%. However, Gen X and Baby Boomers are less inclined towards this idea, showing only 41.1% and 42.1% agreement respectively.
  • Across all generations, online coupon codes and Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals are viewed as the most effective ways to secure the best discounts. Brand subscriptions via email or text appear to be less popular, but still a relevant strategy for a substantial proportion of shoppers.
  • Among all respondents, online coupon codes are seen as a favorable way to get deals, with an overall mean score of 3.7. However, looking at the generational divide, both Millennials and Gen Z scored this higher at 3.9, indicating a stronger belief in this strategy compared to Gen X (3.4) and Baby Boomers (3.3).
  • When it comes to finding deals through subscribing to brands’ emails or texts, all generations scored this lower than other strategies. However, Millennials and Gen Z still led with mean scores of 3.5 and 3.4 respectively, compared to Gen X’s 3.3 and Boomers’ 3.2. The overall mean score for all responses was 3.4, reflecting a more lukewarm attitude toward this deal-finding approach.

Strategy Implications

Generational Approaches to Discounts and Deals

Recognizing these generational differences in attitudes towards deals and discounts is essential for crafting strategies that resonate with each customer segment. To appeal to Millennials and Gen Z, businesses might want to leverage coupon codes more effectively, while more traditional discount strategies may be successful with Baby Boomers and Gen X.

Marketing & Ecommerce Implications

Adapting Marketing and Ecommerce Practices to Generational Preferences

Marketing strategies need to be tweaked to suit generational preferences. Email or text subscription discounts may appeal more to Millennials, requiring a focus on building strong subscription bases. For Gen X, on the other hand, different methods may need to be devised to present appealing deals.

Apparel Shopper Behavior Implications

Understanding the Generational Nuances in Apparel Shopping

Our study demonstrates the nuanced differences in shopping behaviors across generations. Understanding that older generations are more likely to wait for discounts on clothing can inform promotional strategies, while knowing that younger generations have a high trust in coupon codes can shape both pricing and marketing approaches.

Wrap Up

This portion of the study delves into the generational differences pertaining to coupon code trust and deal-seeking behavior in the apparel ecommerce sector, unveiling some compelling trends. Notably, Generation Z and Millennials were found to be more trusting of coupon codes in providing the best deals compared to Baby Boomers and Gen X, with Gen Z having approximately 54% more trust than Baby Boomers. Regarding deals obtained through subscriptions to brands’ emails or texts, Millennials were found to perceive the highest value. However, it is Baby Boomers and Gen X that were more inclined to wait for discounts before purchasing clothing, indicating an intriguing dichotomy in deal-seeking behavior across generations.

These generational disparities call for nuanced, demographically-tailored strategies to ensure resonance with each customer segment. Businesses should judiciously leverage coupon codes to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z, while more conventional discount strategies may be efficacious with Baby Boomers and Gen X. Marketing approaches need to be adapted to these generational preferences, with email or text subscription discounts likely to be more appealing to Millennials. Alternatively, for Gen X, innovative methods might need to be devised to present attractive deals. These findings underscore the multifarious nuances in shopping behaviors across generations, suggesting that understanding these differences can profoundly inform promotional, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Part 5 – The Power of Pricing: How Discounts Influence Purchasing Decisions

For any ecommerce business, finding the right pricing strategy is a delicate balancing act. The perceived value of your product, customer loyalty, and your brand’s positioning all contribute to the decision-making process. But one factor that universally affects consumers is price discounts. By understanding the behavioral patterns associated with discounting, we can unlock new opportunities and optimize our pricing strategies accordingly.

The Findings

The results of our recent study reveal fascinating insights into how discounts influence purchasing decisions. When products are otherwise equal, shoppers are approximately twice as likely to choose a product with a 20% discount offer over one at average cost.

The magic of a 50% discount is even more compelling, with shoppers 99% more likely to select a product with this level of price reduction compared to one with a 20% discount. The allure of ‘half-price’ appears to hold significant sway in purchasing choices.

  • Although ‘50% Off’ is the most preferred discount, there isn’t a proportional decrease in preference as the discount level drops. The difference in preference between ‘50% Off’ and ‘30% Off’ is more than twice the difference between ‘30% Off’ and ‘20% Off’. This suggests that once discounts reach a certain level, further increases in discount don’t yield the same increase in preference.
  • The biggest jump in preference occurs between ‘15% Off’ and ‘20% Off’ discounts across all demographic groups. This indicates that ‘20% Off’ might be a psychological threshold where discounts start to become significantly more attractive.
  • Despite Millennials and Gen Z being stereotypically seen as more price-sensitive, the data shows that the Baby Boomer demographic has a larger increase in preference from ‘20% Off’ to ‘50% Off’ compared to Millennials and Gen Z.
  • While the ‘20% Off’ discount has a positive preference, it’s close to ‘15% Off’, which has a relative dispreference. This indicates that a small difference in discount can significantly affect perception.
  • Women have a slightly lower preference for ‘50% Off’ compared to men, suggesting that while substantial discounts are attractive to both, other factors could be more influential for women.
  • The difference in preference between ‘10% Off’ and ‘15% Off’ is relatively small compared to other discount intervals. This suggests that customers might not perceive a significant difference between these two discount levels.

Strategy Implications

Adjusting Pricing Strategy for Increased Consumer Appeal

These findings underline the importance of discounting as a strategy in an ecommerce context. However, it’s not just about slashing prices. The discount level itself can be a major differentiator in driving purchase decisions. A strategic approach to discounting—such as offering 50% off on certain items—can significantly enhance the attractiveness of your offerings.

Marketing & Ecommerce Implications

Utilizing Discounts for Marketing Impact

Discounts can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Highlighting a 50% discount in your marketing communications could be a strong driver in directing customer traffic to your website or specific products. It’s not just about telling your customers that you offer good value; it’s about showing them through attractive discounts.

Apparel Shopper Behavior Implications

Understanding the Power of Discounts on Apparel Shopping

The study’s findings further underscore the fact that discounts are not just a pricing strategy—they are a behavioral trigger. The deep discounts resonate with apparel shoppers’ perceived value, creating a sense of urgency and attracting customers who may have been on the fence about making a purchase.

Wrap Up

This research sheds light on the pervasive impact of pricing strategies, particularly discounts, on consumers’ purchasing decisions. Key findings indicate that shoppers are roughly twice as likely to opt for a product with a 20% discount over one priced regularly, illustrating the appeal of lower prices. Yet, the attraction of a 50% discount is notably potent, making shoppers nearly twice as likely to select a product with this price reduction compared to one with a 20% discount. These findings encapsulate the behavioral idiosyncrasies associated with discounting, underscoring its instrumental role in shaping purchasing choices.

The findings bear substantial implications for ecommerce strategies and marketing approaches. Rather than merely reducing prices, the level of discount emerges as a critical driver for purchase decisions, suggesting that a strategic approach to discounting – such as offering 50% off on specific items – could enhance the appeal of product offerings significantly. From a marketing perspective, emphasizing a 50% discount in marketing communications could strongly drive customer traffic to specific products or websites. Additionally, these findings reveal discounts not just as a pricing strategy, but as a psychological trigger, resonating with customers’ perceived value, creating urgency, and enticing potential customers. Consequently, this underscores the exigency of incorporating a nuanced understanding of discount-driven behaviors into ecommerce and marketing strategies.

Part 6 – Balancing Factors: The Intricacies of Product Attractiveness in Ecommerce

In the realm of ecommerce, successful leaders appreciate the intricate dance of variables influencing customers’ purchasing decisions. Each product attribute carries weight, yet the balance varies, forming a unique puzzle tailored to each shopper’s priorities. Through exploring these patterns, we can adapt and innovate our strategies, crafting an ecommerce experience that speaks to shoppers on a personal level.

The Findings

Findings from our recent study provide fascinating insights into this complex dance of product attributes. Notably, shoppers were only 7.6% more likely to purchase a product because it is selling out than one always available – a relatively small boost in attractiveness. However, when a selling-out item also offered a 30% discount, its allure amplified, becoming 178% more likely to be chosen.

Meanwhile, when exploring the hierarchy of product attributes, Price & Promotion reigned supreme, profoundly shaping shoppers’ decisions. Affinity, reflecting personal preference, came second, followed by Scarcity and Uniqueness – aspects of limited availability and distinctiveness, respectively.

In a generational lens, Gen Z placed more importance on Scarcity and Uniqueness than other generations, and Baby Boomers were slightly more sensitive to Price & Promotion and Affinity.

  • The affinity factor plays a significant role across all customer segments. The majority of consumers showed a marked preference for items they ‘love’ or ‘have to have’, with over 12% demonstrating such inclination. It underscores the importance of emotional connection in product preference.
  • Scarcity slightly influences customer behavior but not as much as we might assume. The statement “This item will no longer be available in the next 4 weeks” has a 1.6% preference, slightly higher than the 1.4% preference for the phrase “This item is selling out”. Interestingly, stating an item will always be available shows a slight dispreference across all segments, indicating a mild appeal for scarce or limited items.
  • Ambivalence towards an item significantly decreases its attractiveness. Consumers are not sure if they love an item demonstrated a sharp negative preference at -24.5%, the highest negative value across all segments and factors. This suggests that consumer certainty plays a vital role in purchase decisions.
  • The data suggests a subtle but noteworthy trend among customers who prefer New & Upcoming Brands: they have the highest relative preference (4.3%) for highly unique items compared to other groups. This is 3.1% higher than the general response, indicating that novelty and uniqueness are particularly significant for this segment.
  • Across all groups, there is a noticeable dispreference for items that are perceived as being available for at least another 12 months, ranging from -3.1% (Millennials) to -1.7% (Boomers). This may suggest a consumer bias towards items with perceived scarcity or those associated with limited availability.
  • Among all age groups, Millennials have the highest preference (13.1%) for items they love, which is higher than the average response. This demonstrates the greater role emotional connection plays in the purchasing decisions of Millennials compared to other generations. 

Strategy Implications

Optimizing Product Attributes for Strategic Gains

The findings suggest a need to rebalance product attributes strategically. Discounts remain a compelling incentive, particularly when combined with scarcity signals. Consider highlighting the limited availability of discounted items to capitalize on this combination. Meanwhile, strategies should align with generational preferences, tailoring the prominence of specific attributes to target demographic segments more effectively.

Marketing & Ecommerce Implications

Crafting Promotions that Resonate with Consumers

Promotion design must consider the relative importance of product attributes. Given the dominant influence of Price & Promotion, focus on creating appealing, diverse promotional campaigns. Furthermore, seek opportunities to enhance Affinity through detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and high-quality images, heightening the personal resonance of products.

Apparel Shopper Behavior Implications

Navigating Shoppers’ Decision-making Landscape

Understanding that scarcity holds moderate importance, yet is amplified by discounts, guides us in sculpting appealing offers. While Uniqueness has less impact, it shouldn’t be neglected as it could be a tie-breaker in a competitive market.

Wrap Up

The data illuminates the intricate confluence of product attributes shaping customers’ ecommerce purchasing decisions. Notably, the study reveals a relatively marginal increase in product attractiveness when it’s indicated as selling out, a mere 7.6% boost in likelihood to purchase. However, this appeal amplifies significantly when combined with a 30% discount, leading to a 178% increase in the propensity to purchase. The findings also establish a hierarchy of influence among product attributes: Price & Promotion, Affinity, Scarcity, and Uniqueness, in descending order of influence. Further, generational disparities surface with Gen Z placing higher importance on Scarcity and Uniqueness, and Baby Boomers showing more sensitivity to Price & Promotion and Affinity.

This sophisticated understanding of product attribute interactions has far-reaching strategic implications. Discounts, especially when merged with scarcity indications, emerge as compelling drivers of purchase decisions. Thus, ecommerce leaders should accentuate the limited availability of discounted items. Moreover, promotional strategies need to cater to generational predilections, tailoring the salience of product attributes to effectively target specific demographic segments. Furthermore, the study highlights the need for ecommerce practices to design promotions that resonate with consumers, considering the paramount influence of Price & Promotion and enhancing Affinity via detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and high-quality images. Overall, these insights underscore the imperative of comprehending and skillfully navigating the multifaceted decision-making landscape of ecommerce shoppers.


The research underlying this report was conducted by 2 Visions, an award-winning consulting and research firm with extensive experience in ecommerce and consumer behavior studies. The investigation was executed nationally, between April 15 and April 30, 2023, to garner an understanding of the contemporary state of ecommerce apparel shopper behavior.

The primary criteria for participant selection were centered on their experience as ecommerce apparel shoppers, ensuring the relevance and applicability of the insights gleaned. In total, the study enlisted the participation of 2,200 Americans across diverse generational segments, including Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. This broad representation offered a comprehensive view of varying consumer behaviors and preferences across age groups, thereby enriching the research outcomes.

In addition, the study was meticulous in its participant selection to ensure demographic representativeness. The participants were distributed across various US regions, matching the recent census proportions to ensure geographic diversity and accuracy. The frequencies of male and female participants were also carefully controlled to mirror recent census proportions, ensuring a balanced gender perspective within the study.

Unlike traditional surveys, a portion of the methodology adopted in this research included predictive analysis. This approach delves deeper into understanding the consumer, modeling stated preferences with a robust accuracy. This rigorous research method enables us to present findings with a marginal error of only 2.09%, offering a high confidence level of 95%.

The questions that informed this research touched upon the impact of discounts and promotions on consumer behavior, brand loyalty, generational differences in discount waiting, and the influence of scarcity in conjunction with discounts on purchase decisions, among others. These focused queries have allowed us to generate a nuanced understanding of the current state of ecommerce apparel shopper behavior.

Through this methodology, we aspire to furnish ecommerce business leaders with the necessary knowledge and insights to better understand and address the unique needs of their various customer segments. The data and findings from this study are designed to aid strategic decision-making processes and enhance the effectiveness of discounting and promotional strategies.

Furthermore, it is important to highlight a critical aspect of predictive analysis. The findings presented in this report are relative to the choices given within the model. Hence, the interpretation of the data provided requires a consideration of the relative options that were presented to the shoppers during the research phase.

For instance, if a participant was found to prefer discounts over product uniqueness, it doesn’t necessarily imply that product uniqueness isn’t important to them, but rather that, when presented with these two options specifically, they would lean more towards discounts. Thus, in applying the findings of this research, it’s essential to comprehend this nuance, taking into account the specific context and the range of options within which the participant choices were made.

We stress this point to emphasize that, while this research provides valuable insights, the implementation of its findings in strategic planning should be done with a full understanding of the model’s context and the relative nature of the options presented. The effectiveness of predictive analysis lies not just in the data collected, but in the accurate interpretation and application of these insights within the broader business strategy.

Fair Use

This content is offered for public usage with the intention to enhance the industry’s shared understanding and knowledge. While we invite you to share and distribute this information for non-commercial purposes, please ensure to attribute it to us by providing a backlink to this original source page. This will enable full access to our complete methodology and results, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of our research.

Written by Yates Jarvis, Founder & Principal of 2 Visions.

Having consulted with over 1,000 companies across verticals, Yates is an ecommerce expert, strategist, and market researcher with a multi-billion dollar ecommerce portfolio that brings the experience required to help scale DTC businesses regardless of size, team dynamics, or perceived barriers.

Prior to founding 2 Visions, Yates was Managing Director, Client Solutions & Strategy at global award-winning, two-time Inc 5000 CX/UX & eCommerce firm, eHouse Studio. Specializing in data-based decision making for his clients, he grew eHouse’s portfolio to online revenues in excess of $400MM annually for companies such as Kay, Dr. Axe, and Spanx. Yates came to eHouse Studio after growing “Moneyball” sabermetric & predictive technology company ScoutAdvisor as Co-Owner and VP of Strategy, earning business with 19 MLB teams. Yates partnered with Warner Bros. to have his work featured in Clint Eastwood’s movie “Trouble With The Curve.”

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