In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and in the run-up to Christmas, our thoughts turn somewhat frantically to shopping. What bargains can we get? What festive gifts shall we buy? (Please not another novelty tie and socks set for Dad!) And perhaps most crucially, what new clothes are we going to dazzle our nearest and dearest with during the party season? It’s decision time for shoppers, but it’s an even more critical time for retailers.

The season can be a make or break period for many retail businesses. In an environment of rapid change and intense competition, severe pressure is on them to get things right: from the products they’re selling and the service they’re providing to operational and logistical considerations. For example, have they got enough stock of popular items, and can they deliver promptly and effectively during this extra-busy time?

How can they be confident that they’ve planned well for the seasonal sales rush? The answer, as we’ll see, is by using the insights gleaned from digging through great data – a task we took on ourselves in our latest GoFigure! report.

Customer Experience is Everything

Ultimately, the judge and jury of the retail business are the consumers. If they can get what they want, how they want it, and at the right prices, then retailers are doing a good job. As KPMG has observed, good customer experience in retail is vital, so much so that it’s poised to supersede the industry’s traditional performance measurement of sales per square foot. So, for retailers, the recipe for success is to know as accurately as possible in advance what people like, what they need, how they shop and how they prefer to get their purchases. And that’s where diving into data and analyzing it can make all the difference.

Retail Analytics

Data is Key

The explosion of online retail in recent years offers retailers new and unprecedented opportunities to gather information about consumers. This data can provide retailers with essential intelligence about the way consumers behave. It enables retail businesses to anticipate what consumers’ preferences are and what buying decisions they are likely to make, thereby enabling them to maximize sales by more accurately targeting consumers.

Listening to the Ladies

With this in mind, let’s consider some data in action. In our new GoFigure! analysis, we looked at fashion e-commerce and the way women, in particular, buy clothes. By using data from Kaggle, we reviewed studies of their online shopping behavior. The studies clearly established that women’s behavior was more nuanced and sophisticated than men’s in this regard, so insights into their purchasing decisions are the most valuable for the retail fashion business.

We analyzed purchase data of over 20,000 purchases made recently by women and divided them into the following groups of shoppers:

  • Generation Z Women (aged 18 to 29)
  • Millennial Women (aged 30 to 39)
  • Generation X Women (aged 40 to 49)
  • Baby Boomer Women (aged 50 +)

What We Learned


Findings show that Millennial and Generation X women did the most online shopping. This stands to reason because they’re arguably more technologically savvy than the Baby Boomers, so they’re more comfortable shopping online. Plus, they may have more income to spend than women in Generation Z. So, retailers can know which demographics to target that will potentially generate more income.


More surprising were satisfaction levels that showed the Baby Boomers to be the most satisfied with their online purchases. Are the expectations of the younger, more frequent tech users higher than their older counterparts, or are they just naturally harder to please? What the data says is that fashion retailers need to work harder to keep younger consumers happy and brand loyal, particularly if they are the money makers for these businesses. It’s an important insight for retailers to know and to bear in mind when planning new ranges, campaigns and shopping experiences.

Most popular items:

Analysis showed that the most purchased items across all groups of women were tops, and retailers can mine the data still further to discover what kind of items these consumers prefer in this category (for example, knits, blouses, sweaters etc.). The same can be achieved for other categories, such as bottoms, dresses, jackets and intimate items, like sleepwear and swimwear. This is vital data because it shows retailers what sells well.

The Jeans Surprise:

Looking at satisfaction rankings, it was surprising to learn that women of all age groups love the jeans they buy online. Apparently, women have found the way to buy this clothing item online to their satisfaction!

retail analytics

You can go deeper. Crunch the numbers and you’ll see which groups buy the most of each type of item; learn that the biggest buyers of tops are the Baby Boomers; and that the youngest group, Generation Z, is busy splashing their cash on more intimate garments. Make of that what you will, but what’s certain is that the information is invaluable for retailers to target their ranges of clothes most precisely.

What arises from this data is a fascinating combination of the expected and the unexpected that’s really valuable for helping retailers make the most of their e-commerce and enhance consumers’ online shopping experience. By applying this knowledge to their businesses, retailers can boost the prospects of a profitable and successful festive season. Happy holidays, everyone!

To learn more about our analysis, download our report and see our interactive dashboard.

Download the full report See the interactive dashboard
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