The Diversification of Flash Sales

Flash sales began with a focus on women’s fashion, borrowing from the sample sale framework used years before the Internet was created.  The flash sales model worked well in Europe with Vente-Privee and, initially, Gilt Groupe in the United States, but over the years, what was originally another retail mechanism in targeting the lucrative fashion-forward-female-with-discretionary-spending demographic became another industry in and of itself.  The flash sales industry skewed heavily toward women (and to a certain degree still does) but in the last year or two men have warmed considerably to the concept, as evidenced by the success of flash sales sites geared toward men such as Gilt Man and JackThreads

The diversification of flash sales doesn’t end with an expansion of demographics, although that is certainly true, as moms and children have also been targeted with sites like Totsy and Plum District.  Flash sales have also expanded beyond apparel, footwear and accessories.  A multiplicity of flash sales sites peddling a variety of wares from artwork to home décor to unique experiences have also cropped up.  The reason?  An economic climate in which flash sales can thrive.

The economy has improved, laying the groundwork for flash sales success.  In order for flash sales to flourish, consumers need to have a little extra something to play around with.  In an earlier post, we discussed how e-commerce and flash sales performed better than expected over the holiday season.

Flash sales appeals to the deal-seekers and those with a little extra spend in their pockets: from image-conscious young professionals with no large commitments to more established consumers with refined interests.  As the economic straits have loosened, those interests and attending flash sales sites have broadened.