Australian Fashion Retailers Spend Big to Compete With Zara.com.au

April Davis By April Davis | 01 May 2018

On March 14, Zara officially launched its Australian online store. In a bid to keep up with the Spanish fast-fashion retailer, big names in the Aussie online fashion scene started dropping piles of cash into paid search advertising.

According to research by online marketing data provider, SEMrush, the launch of Zara’s Australian online store has shaken the local retail market. In the lead-up to the retailer’s online launch, digital ad spend increased exponentially as retailers faced the threat of Zara’s online presence head-on.

“With Zara being present and having an aggressive marketing strategy, we see the change in the whole market. Zara’s top competitors have all dramatically increased their advertising budgets. Local retailers are now trying to neutralise the effect of Zara’s launch here,” said Olga Andrienko, head of global marketing at SEMrush.

From January to March this year, organic search from Australian consumers to Zara.com more than doubled. During the same three month period, paid search was the biggest driver of traffic for the fashion giant, experiencing an increase of 18,900 percent.

In an analysis of eight of Zara’s top local and international competitors in the Australian market, SEMrush determined that all of these brands increased their online ad spend in an attempt to compete with the global fashion brand.

According to the marketing group’s findings, Showpo had the biggest increase in ad spend, raising its budget by 2000 percent, and SurfStitch, despite having the smallest budget increase out of all the brands analysed, still increased its spend by 20 percent.

Online Store Ad Spend Percentage Increase
Zara 18900 percent
Showpo 2000 percent
PrettyLittleThing 1000 percent
Missguided 450 percent
The Iconic 90 percent
David Jones 60 percent
ASOS 50 percent
Cotton On 30 percent
SurfStitch 20 percent

Data source: SEMrush 

It’s also interesting to note that – according to SEMrush’s findings – local fashion retailer, David Lawrence, actually lost approximately 10 percent of its usual traffic during this time period.

The launch of Zara’s Australian e-commerce platform was a long-time coming; having dropped seven years after the fashion giant first planted its local roots.

By launching its Australian site, the Spanish retail giant has joined the ranks of a number of international players, including Uniqlo, Victoria’s Secret, and Debenhams, who are taking advantage of Australian consumers’ willingness to shop online.

Last year, Australians spent an estimated $24 billion on online retail over a 12 month period to November 2017, with 14.4 percent growth, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index – proving Australia is a lucrative market that offers strong prospects for overseas players.

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