Selling Clothes Online (1.5X in 5 years)

Source: The Telegraph, Apr 2011

Last year £4.3 billion worth of clothes were bought over the internet, a growth of 152 per cent in the last five years, according to the report by Mintel, the market research company.

More than a third, 35 per cent, of shoppers bought their clothes online in the last 12 months, up from 26 per cent the previous year. The research company predicted that the online clothing market would hit £4.8 billion by the end of this year, despite the marked slowdown in consumer spending on the high street.

When internet shopping was first developed over a decade ago, many believed that clothing retailers would never succeed selling their products online because consumers wanted to see, touch and try on the garments.

However, Neil Saunders, at Verdict, a retail consultancy, said that many shoppers, particularly women, had got over this hurdle. “Many now prefer to buy clothes online and try them on in the privacy of their own home than in a changing room. They get around the problem by ordering multiple sizes and sending back the ones they don’t want. Of course, this can be costly for the retailers that pick up the cost of this.”

Despite the substantial growth of online clothes shopping, it remains a relatively modest proportion of the overall market. Mintel calculated that at £4.3 billion it represented just 10.2 per cent of the total clothing retail market.

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