We pit ASOS and Topshop, two of the UK’s finest fashion outlets, against each other to see where you should shop for the biggest online clothes savings.
ASOS. It’s one of the biggest players in the online shopping market – especially for Australians seeking cheap, high quality fashion imports. In 2013 it was reported that almost four jumbo jets of clothing were being flown into Australia by them PER WEEK. Can’t argue with those fashionistas.
But then, there’s Topshop. It’s an older soul, but one that’s pretty much synonymous with high street fashion. In London, its flagship store is one of the first shops people make a beeline for when they hit London’s famous Oxford Street. It’s hailed as the “world’s biggest fashion store” and is made up of five floors, which include Topshop apparel, boutique apparel, Topman fashion, a beauty salon, and a cupcake store.
Impressive, sure. But which is better when it comes to the damage to your pocket?
Get the facts about ASOS
- Launched: September 2011 (ASOS.com.au launched in June 2000)
- What is it? A UK based online fashion retailer stocking over 800 brands of clothing.
- Who owns it? UK multi-millionaire Nick Robertson
- How much does it make? Sales for the financial year ending August 31, 2013 were £753.8 million.
Get the facts about Topshop
- Launched: 1964 (Topshop opened its first Australian stores in NSW and Victoria in 2011)
- What is it? A UK based fashion retailer 440 shops across 37 countries - including 3 in Australia.
- Who owns it? British multinational retailing company Arcadia Group and Leonard Green and Partners.
- How much does it make? Profit before tax for the year ending 31 August 2013 (including a 25% sale of Topshop and Topman that year) was £481 million.
This one’s difficult. Both ASOS and Topshop have their own clothing labels, which makes it harder to compare. But if you’re looking at brand names, some do cross over - so here’s a look at what the same item costs at both online stores.
Same outfit, same price
This is a perfect example of the same outfit for the SAME PRICE. This is going to happen for a couple of reasons. One is that both stores are UK-based so they have to remain competitive to one another, and another is most likely that nasty thing called a Recommended Retail Price (RRP). However, when you look at the Motel website – where this dress is originally from – you’ll find that the majority of their playsuits are selling for £45 too.
Here’s where you go: so which one should I choose? With regards to the above, here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- ASOS stocks more sizes – their range is from XXS to XL whereas Topshop only goes from XS to L.
- To get free delivery, ASOS only asks for a minimum spend of AU$30. Topshop asks for a minimum of £50.
- ASOS delivers faster. They state they can get you your stuff within 5 working days. Topshop will do it within two weeks.
The verdict? If it comes to the same product at the same price, go with ASOS. Converted, this works out to be roughly $82.58, based on an exchange rate of $1=£0.54. Topshop will do you for close to $97 (including shipping and handling). Topshop also charges in pounds, so who knows what your bank will add in conversion fees to make it even more expensive.
Same outfit, different price
Here’s one in Topshop’s favour. The Oh My Love brand is notably cheaper at Topshop than ASOS. Again, you’re going to get the ASOS version delivered to you free as you’re spending over $30, but with Topshop you’ll have to pay an extra £9 for delivery. Still, that’s a saving of £5 in this case (not including any conversion fees). In this case: Topshop wins. So look out for brands that it tends to sell cheaper, because they do exist.
Same outfit, but only one is marked down on sale
Let’s talk sales now. ASOS seems to mark its stock down more frequently than Topshop. This is probably due to its massive range as well as turnover. While the RRP for Religion clothes is the same price for both, ASOS takes it to the sale faster. So it’s worth a little wait to see who’ll slash their prices on you. The winner? ASOS in a heartbeat.
While these findings are in no way conclusive and are subject to brands, sales and availability, we think it’s safe to say that ASOS has a bit of an advantage over Topshop. The facts are that they DO deliver fast, their FREE DELIVERY MINIMUM is less, and they charge you in AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS, which means you know exactly how much you’re paying, and you won’t be charged conversion fees.
Now, let’s compare other details.
Between ASOS and Topshop, who has the bigger range of items?
Both online retailers stock men and women fashion. Both stock clothes, shoes, accessories, jewellery, plus size, petite size, tall sections, swimwear, beauty and gifts. So where do they differ?
ASOS definitely has more brand names than Topshop online. At the time of writing, Topshop features 45 brands, while ASOS features 800+.
ASOS, however, has slightly more to offer in terms of unique fashion finds. Their Reclaimed Vintage edit sells reshaped dead stock pieces in fabrics that have a retro or vintage feel, while their ASOS Marketplace provides a place for smaller boutiques and vintage labels to sell their wares.
Topshop, though, is more dedicated to featuring collections and providing you with inspiration through lookbooks and beauty masterclasses.
Which has the better delivery options?
As discussed above, ASOS does this better. They only ask for a minimum spend of $30 for free standard delivery or $125 for free express delivery and they will deliver within 5 working days or 3 with express. To qualify for free delivery with Topshop, you’ll need to spend at least £50 (approx. $90) for free standard delivery. They also advise that it’ll take up to 9 working days for standard delivery. If you want express, you’ll have to pay an extra £20, but you’ll get your item within 5 working days.
Which one has the best returns policy?
This one’s a bit tough, as it’s always ideal if you can return an item for free but in both cases you’ll be responsible for covering your return postage. On the upside, as ASOS has a base in Australia, the cost of return postage will likely be cheaper than trying to return something all the way to Topshop in the UK.
ASOS also wins in terms of return dates. To qualify for a refund or exchange with them, you must return the item within 28 days. To qualify for a refund or exchange with Topshop, you must return your item within 14 days of receipt.
Does ASOS or Topshop have a smoother web experience?
Honestly, both are pretty easy to maneuver through. Searching for brands or just browsing are pretty straight forward and searching for sales is just as easy. In terms of the checkout process, Topshop will make you register, while ASOS is okay with you going through the payment process as a guest. Be careful with Topshop if you don’t like newsletters, they automatically opt you into their newsletter upon registration unless you uncheck the box.
When in the checkout though, ASOS has one extra step to go through. Not tragic, but it’s something. Both accept all major credit cards as well as Paypal for payment.
What about student discounts?
While both ASOS and Topshop offer a 10% discount for students, you will need to be registered with UNIDAYS, NUS Extra or Student Beans (Topshop only) to be eligible for these.
ASOS vs Topshop: Our verdict?
While ASOS has the advantages in terms of delivery options and fees and range, if you can catch Topshop on a sale, it might be more profitable. Oh, and look out for coupon codes for both – because they will save you heaps no matter which you side with.