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Radio Is The New Black: Commercial Radio’s Influence On The Fashionable

4 minute read | David Burge, Associate Director, Media Industry Group | February 2018

Almost four-in-10 commercial radio listeners consider themselves to be ‘Fashion Forward’, or ahead of the game when it comes to what to wear.

The ‘Fashion Forward’ group of listeners consists of primarily females who are appearance driven, with a higher than average household income and ready to spend it on all things image and status-related. They are in a prime position to purchase fashion and accessories, skincare, tanning products, and cosmetics. The Fashion Forward group brings big opportunities to advertisers as they are regarded as information-hungry influencers who are seeking to receive and share advice among their inner circle and beyond.

These are the findings from Nielsen and Commercial Radio Australia’s latest Consumer & Media View (CMV) research report, which reveals that the Fashion Forward group of image oriented consumers are engaged by commercial radio, especially during the breakfast and afternoon prime-time slots. They listen to, trust and share what they hear on their favourite radio station.

This is in contrast to 62% of commercial radio listeners who identify themselves as ‘Fashion Idlers’, who prefer to wait and see if the trend takes off before trying out new clothes. The Fashion Idler group’s average yearly household income is approximately $10k less than that of the ‘Fashion Forward’. Fashion Idler’s are more likely to be taking on home duties, in a trade, a labourer or retired. Fashion Idler’s also have the highest representation of males aged 55+ and of retirees.

While the percentage of commercial radio listeners who are ‘Fashion Idlers’ is higher than ‘Fashion Forwards’, the purchasing behaviour is very different. ‘Fashion Idler’ consumers spend less in shopping centres, and are less likely to recommend a product to their friends.


Approximately 3.67 million (38%), commercial radio listeners identify themselves as ‘Fashion Forward’. This group is always the first to try out the latest trend, quite soon after it becomes available on the market. Of this group, 57% are female and 43% are male, with an average household income of $104,000 p.a. The Fashion Forward group holds the highest representation of females aged 18-24 and also has the highest average personal and household income. 


The ‘Fashion Forward’ group like to differentiate themselves from the crowd through clothing. They believe that designer labels will improve their image, and are highly style and appearance-driven. This group prefers to do research in-store, before purchasing an item online. They are more likely to be concerned about the delivery timeframe of online purchases, compared to the ‘Fashion Idlers’.


While approximately one quarter of both ‘Fashion Forward and ‘Fashion Idlers’ spend $101-$200 in shopping centres each week, ‘Fashion Forward’ consumers spend the most on entertainment. ‘Fashion Forward’ consumers will spend an average $66 on entertainment per week while ‘Fashion Idlers’ will spend an average of $54. Additionally, 67% of ‘Fashion Forwards’ are likely to spend more than $50 in a shopping centre each week.


‘Fashion Forward’ consumers are in a position to impact others’ purchasing behaviour. They are seen as influencers in fashion circles and are more likely to seek out and give advice on a range of clothes, products and services. They will not limit advice to fashion, instead will actively influence the rest of the population across categories such as eating out, gadgets, cosmetics, holidays, clothes, shoes and accessories, health and nutrition, and renovation.

Get a free copy of the report using the ‘Download’ button on the right.


Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.


Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) is the national industry body for commercial radio in Australia with 260 FM, AM and DAB+ station members nationwide representing 99% of the commercial radio licensees on air. CRA has been instrumental in the successful rollout of DAB+ digital radio broadcasting in Australia and the Asia Pacific.

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