5MARK012W: You are the marketing research executive in an agency invited to tender for this ASOS project in the UK: Marketing Research Assignment, UOW, UK

University University of Westminster (UOW)
Subject 5MARK012W: MARKETING RESEARCH

The Market Research Agency (in which you work as a marketing research executive) has been commissioned to do this Research project for ASOS. You have been asked to produce an online questionnaire

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RESEARCH BRIEF: ASOS and SUSTAINABILITY in 2022

Total online retail sales increased marginally across 2021 (compared to 2020).  source ONS 2021.  However, consumer spending grew 5.9% in 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019. Clothing, in general, rose even faster in 2021 with a 7.6% increase which Barclaycard put down to a boom in socializing following the end of Covid restrictions and a successful vaccination program. Furthermore, despite the disruption of the past 18 months, online clothing sales are predicted to remain on an even keel for 2022.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC (British Retail Consortium), says: ‘Despite some product ranges trading well at the end of 2021, the next six months will be ‘make or break’ for many retailers and they will be relying on growing consumer confidence, and a return to town and city centers to fuel their recovery.’ Furthermore, Ms. Dickinson sees all clothing retailers having to enhance their online presence.

Meanwhile, the UK economy ‘showed some improvement’ in December 2021, rising by 0.4% according to official figures from ONS (Office for National Statistics), giving rise to some hope for a retail recovery in 2022.

Online fashion retailer ASOS (which stands for ‘As Seen On Screen’) has bucked the trend and achieved a 22% sales revenue increase in 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.  Sales reached £3.9bn with a gross profit of £1.7bn (which has risen by 15% year-on-year. (Source: Drapers 2021) The group saw its active customer base grow by more than 1.5 million people over the period. ASOS also stated:  ‘These record results demonstrate the significant progress we have made against all our strategic priorities and the strength of our execution capability.

The swift integration of the Topshop and Topman brands which ASOS took over in February 2021, and the impressive early customer engagement with these brands online is also especially pleasing,’ said ASOS CEO Nick Beighton (before stepping down in October 2021 after 12 years with the company).  ASOS had acquired the Arcadia brands out of administration for £265million paying an additional £65million for the current and pre-ordered stock.

ASOS kept 300 employees on as part of the deal but did not keep any of the brands’ retail stores. The brand Topshop started in the 1960s and became one of the most popular stores in the UK selling women’s clothing, shoes, make-up, and accessories. Topman was a UK-based multinational men’s fashion store chain founded by Burton (later renamed Arcadia) in 1978.  Both Topshop and Topman were subsidiaries of the Arcadia group when it went into administration in late 2020.

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