The growth rate of broadband penetration has slowed over the last few years after having nearly doubled between 2005 and 2010. Nearly seven in ten adults currently surf the web via a high-speed connection. While this will have an inevitable impact on the future growth of the online fashion market, the sector is still currently growing and over a third of people bought clothing and footwear online in the three months to October 2010, up from 26% the previous year.
- The online fashion market is estimated to see sales increase 12% to £4.8 billion in 2011. The sector continues to grow, although the rate of growth has been impacted by a stabilisation of the rise in internet penetration.
- The sector received a boost as several high street fashion retailers developed their online channels at the end of 2010, with women’s fashion retailers Gap, Zara and H&M all launching websites.
- Multichannel retailers experienced stronger growth during 2010 than pureplay operators, with these companies benefiting from having both a physical store presence as well as an online presence.
- More than two in ten (22%) online shoppers have browsed for clothes online, but never bought. This has more than doubled since Mintel’s last research undertaken in February 2010.
- Four in ten 16-24s believe that that shopping online doesn’t really feel like spending money, so they tend to spend a lot more than they would in an actual shop. This is almost double the average.
- The commercial power of social networks cannot be underestimated and by making shopping online more sociable, retailers can maximise sales. Several fashion retailers and brands have begun to introduce social networking facilities to their websites and are using sites such as Facebook and Twitter to interact with customers.
- Almost six in ten consumers (57%) look for customer feedback or reviews if they are unsure about a website, particularly females aged 25-34 who use the internet for seven or more hours per day.
- The main barrier to shopping online continues to be the inability to see and feel an item in person before buying it. Concern about this peaks among those aged 45 and over.
- Fashion brands and retailers are starting to catch up with other online retail sectors and several are pushing the boundaries through innovative viral campaigns, with sports brand Hi-Tec launching a viral marketing campaign that gave the brand global exposure.