SHE(is)IN the Store: Uncovers a Hybrid Fashion Buyer Segment

The new fashion buyer is heavily browsing and buying on mobile yet visits physical stores in the (almost) post-pandemic era. Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and New York are leading locations where SHEIN users are visiting retail chains. While SHEIN's offering is innovative in terms of it's mobile-first medium, it's too early to say goodbye to brick-and-mortar fashion stores.

We are turning towards a new era as the U.S. economy appears to be emerging from the pandemic, doing away with social distancing and quarantines during which pajamas ruled.'s research has uncovered a new fashion audience with distinct behaviors. This user segment is no longer following the old-school rules of fashion. It is too soon to say that the new fashion buyer is "mobile-only" or that the brick-and-mortar only/mainly is no longer relevant.

A new approach to mobile retail is triggering a new approach to the display window - a display that can democratize fashion in a way never seen before. The traditional hierarchy of a designer-led fashion industry is facing a seismic shift, now heavily influenced by the end-user or shopper's preference. Having a clear understanding of the user journey and purchasing mindset inside a mobile application is a goldmine. Today's buyer is technically reshaping the industry trends through their choices. 

According to Omri Barnes,'s CMO, "Mobile apps are reinventing almost every industry, and the pandemic accelerated this, bringing it to new domains. There is a new hybrid buyer that can browse an app, visit the store and expect complete alignment between those experiences. The trends, the variety, and fast cycles should happen both digitally and in-person."

Powerhouse fashion brands such as Forever 21, H&M, Gap, and Old Navy have all been leveraging digital browsing journeys for a while now. SHEIN has introduced a new, more strategic method: a digital-first approach with a mobile app supported by physical pop-up shops. The brand's app is the front-runner for the company, creating a data-driven experience and customer-oriented productization, a tactic that leads to a cycle of constantly changing and evolving trends. The extraordinary multiplicity of taste preferences drives the variety of options. Based on's audience, March 2021 was the strongest for brick-and-mortar fashion stores. March showed a 27% increase in SHEIN users visiting fashion stores in the U.S., while Forever 21 and H&M showed a moderate increase of 11%.

Inbound mobile web and mobile application insights aren't the only sources needed to understand and forecast trends. The real challenge is to consolidate those with external inputs from social media. Fashion brands are expected to manage multiple sources of information and come up with mini-cycles that will enable stores to compete with mobile apps. Browsing a store's display window is nothing like browsing a mobile app. "However, being able to feel a piece of clothing we are excited about is something many of us were missing," says Omri.