The Fashion of Fashion in 2018 is Mobile

January 5, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Increasingly, our lives are mobile. Mobile data traffic is actually beating that of desktop traffic in some places, and around half of millennials are spending three hours a day just using those devices. Mobile has fundamentally changed the face of retail, serving as a research platform and a payment mechanism.  Fashion is no different here; consumers are spending about six hours a week researching fashion on their mobile devices, and that’s prompting changes in the fashion industry itself.

Already, some companies are taking this concept to task: Farfetch and Tommy Hilfiger are already working on what they call “stores of the future” that feature digital wardrobes and direct connections to social media, as well as payment through apps. This is likely just a start not only for them but for the industry as a whole.

Asian countries are particularly embracing mobile; South Korea and Japan see over 50 percent of e-commerce done via mobile device, and in China, that number trends over 80 percent. The United States and Europe are somewhat slower on this front, with just 15 percent of smartphone users paying for purchases via mobile.

Projections include a laundry list of technologies we’ve seen in the last couple of years; the study expects more retailers taking advantage of mobile transactions to include both online and offline shopping, the use of mobile devices as check-out stands, and of course the acceptance of mobile wallets in stores.

While security was the biggest problem in the early days of mobile payments, it seems that that problem—reports of periodic data breaches aside—is the usability factor. Not every place takes mobile payments. Sure, there are advances from Samsung Pay, where most any place that takes a credit card can handle that mobile payments system, but it’s hardly universal. For Samsung Pay users, that’s terrific, but do even they know about it? I’ve seen precious few ads for it lately; the most recent one was piggybacked onto an ad for the newest Galaxy phone. A Google search of Samsung Pay ads is still talking about Hannibal Buress.

More aggressive marketing might help mobile payments operations; we’ve seen what impact Starbucks had by hawking its payment system in its stores. But for fashion, it looks like a turning point may be in sight.