The first thing that sticks out in this presentation is the Fashion industry’s immunity to larger economic trends. Online sales for the Fashion market grew by 10% despite the stagnation in the overall (offline) Fashion industry. This figure of 10% mirrored the rate of growth of online sales in general.
Areas of growth
To move on into the online Fashion market specifically, let’s start with a question — what were the main areas of growth within the Fashion segment? Right off the bat, we have to mention Luxury. Again, despite the stagnation in the overall market, online Fashion grew (10% YoY increase), and within online Fashion, the Luxury segment continues its climb with a 23% increase in interest. We should note that there is an important geographical factor to this rise in interest in Luxury: search queries for Luxury brands grew the fastest (by a minimum of 20% YoY) in Moscow and the Moscow Region, as well as the Central, Southern, Siberian and Far Eastern Federal Districts. Economists might be offer theories as to why, but for advertisers most important is knowing what is going on: luxury brands have an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of heightened interest — not just in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but in the other larger cities in the regions mentioned.
Remaining on the topic of Luxury brands, the presentation revealed another interesting fact, specifically about overlapping interests. Quite often people have the impression that the Luxury and Mass segments are exclusive categories. Though this idea may be common, it doesn’t reflect reality. In fact, more than a fifth (21%) of users we determined to be interested in Luxury brands (based on their search history) are also interested in brands within the Mass segment. Advertisers should take this significant overlap into account, lest they fall into the trap of thinking that a user’s Luxury purchases exclude them from future interest in the Mass segment. Russian fashionistas are not so different from their peers in other countries who mix and match brands, and might be interested in wearing the latest Balenciaga sneakers with all-time classics like Levi’s.
Geography plays a role in interest in almost any industry in Russia, but with fashion, its role is two-fold. One geography-related trend that remains unchanged (almost to the point of being a law) is such: Russians love foreign brands. There is still much suspicion in relation to Russian-produced clothing and footwear, though interest in smaller local hipster brands is noticeable in big cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg (reflecting similar trends in Europe and North America). Foreign producers still inspire confidence in Russian users, many of whom mention a country of origin in their search queries. Turkish, Chinese, Italian and German clothing and footwear gets the most attention on Yandex Search. At the same time there are specific products associated with different regions, for instance Russians tend to search more for stylish down jackets and fur coats from Italy. Whereas Turkey is popular for a variety of clothing types, skirts, shirts dresses and of course children’s clothing. In Europe, Finland and Poland also attract Russian users’ interest. Finnish coats, for example, have a good reputation for their warmth, high-tech materials and reasonable prices.
The second geographical trend concerns the Russian climate. One of the first associations any foreigner makes with Russia is with the brutal winter. Winter weather makes solid winter boots a must have, but that doesn’t mean all Russians are ready to sacrifice looking good for dry, warm feet. (Those who are, readily grab a pair traditional valenki — felt boots. Functional, warm and amazingly un-fashionable!)
For those users who want to combine style and function, however, brands like Timberland, Caterpillar and Dr. Martens top men’s footwear searches.
Russian women, ever aiming to look stylish, show slightly different trends, however. The most noticeable growth in women’s footwear was not in winter boots. It’s sneakers and more casual footwear that dominate new collections as well as search — women’s queries for sneakers were 77% higher than one year before — with Nike, Adidas, Fila and Balenciaga among the top searched brands in 2018.
Russian parents form another user group that might be interesting to foreign advertisers. Buying children’s clothing online is common in Russia as parents usually have lower mobility. For the same reason, do not forget to check your mobile website or app when offering goods for children. Russian users like to search and buy from their mobile devices, which bring over 60% of searches in this segment (compared to 46% for men’s and women’s clothing). Lastly, we should add that Russian parents do their research before making purchases. They tend to know which brands they are looking for and mention them in half of their searches.
Demand changes with the seasons
It's important to keep in mind that fashion, like many other industries, is influenced by seasonal changes in demand. We mentioned how the Russian climate affects fashion and footwear sales. The other seasonal effect we should mention, however, has to do with the holiday season. Russia’s holiday schedule different from that of many western countries for a whole list of historical reasons. As an advertiser, you need not be an expert in Russian history, but it would serve you well to know which Russian holidays are associated with sales and spikes in shopping activity. In fact, knowing them is not enough — we recommend increasing your advertising activities as different holiday periods approach to take advantage of these active periods. At the very least, make sure that your campaign budgets are ready to handle the increased demand, for example, for the start of the school year on September 1st, or in mid-February. Russian men generally buy gifts for their sweethearts for Valentine’s Day on the 14th, which is quickly followed by Defenders of the Fatherland Day on the 23rd, when Russian women, in turn, buy gifts for the special man in their lives.
Now that we’ve covered the trends and the growth that took place in 2018, we can discuss the tools that made this growth possible.
Naturally, we have to mention the Yandex Advertising Network (YAN). At its very core, fashion is a visual industry, so the image formats in YAN are a must have for any fashion advertiser. Moreover, YAN was the source of more than ¼ of all conversions, meaning that any advertiser without campaigns in ad networks is missing out on a significant opportunity. Additionally, YAN offers retargeting and dynamic retargeting opportunities, which are crucial for any e-commerce campaign. You can find out more about creating successful YAN campaigns here.
Putting information into action
So what kind of action points can we take away from this research? There are several:
- Whenever we deal with slower purchases that users precede with research (i.e. they take time to think), retargeting or Smart banners can potentially “seal the deal” for users who have previously looked at certain products online. As users weight the pros and cons, maintain regular contact can be the final trigger they need to follow through and place an order, so make sure to include retargeting and Smart banners in your advertising mix.
- The fashion world is full of synonyms. The products you sell can half multiple names — more formal, slang, regional names — so your keyword list might be found lacking. To deal with this variety, Yandex offers autotargeting, which uses Yandex’s own machine learning technology to analyze your ads and find the right search queries to show them for. Autotargeting helps find search queries worth adding to your keyword list and responds to the latest search trends.
- Advertising large products ranges can be a hassle, especially if your inventory levels change quickly. Not to worry! Dynamic search ads generate ads that look like Text & Image ads from your product feed, saving you lots of time and stress. They also respond to your inventory levels, so users won’t see ads for products that are out of stock.
YAN offers advertisers the ideal venue for retargeting campaigns, which are crucial for any e-commerce campaign. Retargeting allows advertisers to make contact with users at any and all stages of the sales funnel, so if retargeting isn't a part of your media mix now, this is a good time to consider it. Check out our guide to successful retargeting campaigns here.
While we're on the topic of retargeting, we can't forget to mention . This format can show previous visitors to your site the products that they have already viewed. That means Smart banners offer an easy way to remind, for example, those Russian parents looking for children's clothing about your offer, and thereby increase the likelihood that they place an order with you instead of your competitor.
And in order to scale your campaigns, Yandex offers DSA to cover your whole product range as well as autotargeting (Yandex machine learning technology that allow you to show ads without adding keywords) that can help catch the latest search trends.
To get a deeper look into the details of this report, you can read the full version here.
If you are already using the tools and formats we listed at the end of this article, well done! Keep up the good work and good luck with your campaigns. However, if we mentioned products you either had not heard of or are not currently using, get in touch with your Yandex manager or the International Sales Team — they are eager to advise you on which Yandex products can have the best impact on your campaigns.