The idea of personal shopping is being replaced by virtual styling, according to new research by fashion company DV Closet.
Only 15% of all respondents said they had used a personal shopper in the past, while almost two in five said they now take pictures on their smartphones to get advice from friends and family.
Of the 85% of respondents that had never used a traditional personal shopper before, an overwhelming 90% said it was because they couldn't afford it or they couldn't see the value in it, indicating an increasing alienation between personal shoppers and the audience they're trying to target.
This isn't to say the 15% who have used personal shoppers before were all satisfied with their experience, either. In fact, more than a third (38%) of these respondents said the cost of items proposed to them was too high and ultimately resulted in a negative styling experience. More than a quarter (26%) of those in the 16 to 24-year-old category thought the stylist didn't understand their personal preferences.
"This enlightening research is proof of an opinion shared by millions of fashion lovers the world over — traditional personal styling is dead. While it may have been an exciting concept to begin with, it's failed to keep up with the changing demands of shoppers over the years, and ultimately, it's paid the price," says Danae Varangis, founder and CEO of DV Closet.
The research indicates that consumers are opting for a new, tech-focused way of gaining styling advice, using smartphones and apps to gauge the opinions of friends, family and professionals.
68% of all under-35s surveyed said they believe sending a picture is the best way of receiving instant feedback when trying on clothing in a shop, while over half (57%) of all 16 to 24-year-olds said they would be likely or very likely to trust the fashion advice of fashion bloggers they follow — an opinion shared by nearly half (49%) of all 25 to 34-year-olds. Almost two thirds (59%) of all 16 to 24-year-olds also said they would use a virtual styling app for fashion advice.
"The figures clearly indicate that the future of fashion is digital," says Danae. "The days of trawling from one shop to another and feeling self-conscious in busy dressing rooms are over, and the fashion world needs to adapt to accommodate the shifting landscape."
The research, conducted on behalf of DV Closet by survey consultant Censuswide, polled 1,218 fashion consumers across the UK to determine their opinions on personal styling and habits around clothes shopping.