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The Apparel Advertising Benchmarks Retailers Need to Know in 2021

The apparel industry was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social restrictions and remote work and learning environments reduced the need for business clothing. In turn, demand for leisure and athletic wear, as well as sporting goods, increased as consumers spent more time at home throughout 2020 and into 2021. Despite this change in buying behavior, apparel advertising benchmarks held firm across several major advertising platforms.

Retail marketers in the apparel space saw several KPIs grow year over year on Google paid search and Facebook Advertising, new data from the 2021 Benchmarks Report shows. With consumers spending more time shopping online, retailers saw apparel advertising benchmarks like conversion rate, click-through rate, and ROAS improve year over year on paid search. Meanwhile, Facebook CPC decreased while AOV jumped 21% year over year.

Retailers saw apparel advertising benchmarks like conversion rate, click-through rate, and ROAS improve year over year on paid search.

Sidecar’s 2021 Benchmarks Report is the most extensive analysis of performance advertising in retail to date. Now in its fifth year, the award-winning report goes deeper than ever before to highlight performance of key retail verticals, including apparel advertising benchmarks, across Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. Access the report now.

Apparel Advertising Benchmarks to Watch: Falling CPCs

While a shift in demand was apparent for apparel retailers in 2020, cost on Google Ads actually decreased in 2020. On Google Shopping, apparel CPCs fell 3% year over year, averaging $0.65 throughout 2020. Additionally on Google paid search apparel CPCs averaged $0.29 for the year, down 4% year over year.

The largest drop in CPCs for apparel retailers occurred on Facebook. With an average CPC of $0.76, apparel retailers welcomed an 8% year-over-year drop. This may have been a result of retail marketers spreading their spend out across multiple platforms rather than relying on one platform to reach business goals, thereby lessening competition and contributing to lower CPCs.

Apparel Advertising Benchmarks to Watch: ROAS Gains on Facebook & Instagram

Declining CPCs created opportunity for higher return on ad spend in several platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. For apparel retailers, ROAS was highest in Google paid search (24.73), though Facebook welcomed a 26% year-over-year increase in ROAS. Instagram led the way with a 61% year-over-year ROAS boost. Efficiency was the name of the game in 2020, especially as buying trends shifted in the apparel space.

As the pandemic extended into the summer and fall months, home workouts and exercising outdoors grew in popularity, so items like running shoes, shorts, and other workout gear also performed well. Formal wear remained down for almost all of the year.

“Items like hoodies, sweatpants, pajamas and other comfortable clothing were in demand throughout 2020,” says Phil Turicik, Director of Enterprise Strategy at Sidecar. “As the pandemic extended into the summer and fall months, home workouts and exercising outdoors grew in popularity, so items like running shoes, shorts, and other workout gear also performed well. Formal wear remained down for almost all of the year.”

Apparel Advertising Benchmarks to Watch: Lower Cost Per Acquisition

With apparel retailers remaining diligent in their spending in 2020, CPA fell in several platforms. In fact, Google Shopping was the only advertising platform to experience an increase in CPA for apparel retailers. Instagram saw  a 19% drop in CPA for apparel retailers, followed by Facebook and Google paid search at -12% each.

Get More Benchmarks Like These

Keep this article handy to identify the right goals and growth areas for your marketing campaigns in the year ahead. For more information on advertising benchmarks in retail, access Sidecar’s 2021 Benchmarks Report. It covers all the data you see here, and goes deeper to uncover metrics across the retail industry as a whole.