US Online Apparel Retailing Market Report 2022
"The online apparel market is poised for opportunity and growth as consumers continue to gravitate to ecommerce to purchase clothing. Thus far, brands have produced an enjoyable experience for shoppers…

US Online Apparel Retailing Market Report 2022

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)


This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the online apparel retailing market including online apparel retailing market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the online apparel retailing market in the US.

Current market landscape

The online apparel retailing experience is not siloed to the digital world – 81% of consumers are multichannel shoppers, meaning they use a variety of physical and digital options when purchasing clothing. The omnichannel experience needs to be seamless and convenient for consumers, who want to be able to discover items of interest online, try them on in-person and browse other colors and styles before placing an order. Physical retail will assist with digital sales, and drives the majority of sales – the two must work together.

Inflation remains an issue for brands and consumers alike. Despite a small drop in inflation in July, prices in some necessary categories such as food and rent remain high, eating into consumers’ discretionary spending. Clothing brands will need to provide added value – both monetarily and otherwise – to convince consumers that the purchase is worth the price.

Online apparel retailing market share and key industry trends

  • A quarter of consumers (24%) shop for clothing at least once a month, indicating how clothing is a frequent purchase.
  • Activewear (38%) and sweaters (27%) spike for women for online purchases whereas men are more likely to purchase shorts (31%) and jackets (22%).
  • Consumers enjoy shopping for clothing online (41%) – however, being able to compare prices (41%) and having time to decide if they really want something (34%) are also critical to consumers when shopping for clothing online.

Future market trends in online apparel retailing

One of the biggest threats to the market is a lack of transparency from some brands, leading to more frustration on behalf of the consumer. Shoppers want to know that items are available to order when they see them; that an item is authentic when purchased; and that sizing, style and color will match between what they see online compared to what they see in person. Technology enhancements will be critical for brands as they look to elevate their online shopping experiences.

That said, it means that tech improvements and the incorporation of technology in general are key opportunities in the market. Sizing tools, social commerce, AR/VR and AI are just a few options for brands to explore. Shopping for clothing online is about the holistic experience for consumers, and this entails going beyond a simple transaction and making the brand feel more human to shoppers.

Read on to discover more about the online apparel retailing consumer market, read our US The Circular Economy Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Clothing, Footwear & Accessories research reports.

Quickly understand the global online apparel retailing market

  • Purchase frequency of clothing online and consumers’ future intentions to shop online.
  • Preferred retailers when shopping for clothing online.
  • Why consumers choose to shop for clothing online rather than in-store.
  • Where consumers find inspiration for their clothing choices.
  • Attitudes toward purchasing clothing online.

Covered in this report

Brands include: Instagram, Pinterest, Theory, Rebecca Taylor, Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Amazon, Bold Metrics, Gucci, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sephora, Knix, Samsung, Patagonia, Abercrombie, TikTok, Facebook, Lululemon.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the online apparel retailing industry

This report, written by Katie Hansen, a leading analyst in the Retail and ecommerce sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis of online apparel retailing market research to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The online apparel market is poised for opportunity and growth as consumers continue to gravitate to ecommerce to purchase clothing. Thus far, brands have produced an enjoyable experience for shoppers and this experience drives consumers back to make purchases online. In the coming years, technology will be at the forefront of the retail environment – further improvements and tech integrations will enhance the online apparel journey. Together with technology and physical retail, the online purchase journey for clothing will see steady growth and greater engagement between brands and consumers.
Katie Hansen, Retail and eCommerce Analyst
Katie Hansen
Senior Analyst, Retail & eCommerce

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Total US retail sales and fan chart forecast of online apparel retailing, at current prices, 2017-27
                  • Figure 2: Online apparel outlook, 2022-27
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Inflation limits consumers’ ability to spend
                    • Tech enhances the online apparel experience
                      • Omnichannel strategies support online apparel
                        • Brands need to offer transparency to their shoppers
                          • Key consumer insights
                          • Market Size and Forecast

                            • Online apparel roars with opportunity
                              • Figure 3: Total US retail sales and fan chart forecast of online apparel retailing, at current prices, 2017-27
                              • Figure 4: Total US sales and forecast of online apparel retailing, at current prices, 2017-27
                          • Market Factors

                            • A small break in inflation isn’t enough to ease consumers’ cautious spending
                              • Figure 5: Consumer price index change from previous year, 2020-22
                            • Younger consumers are naturally omnichannel shoppers
                              • Figure 6: Population by generation, 2026
                            • Tech will take buying clothing online into the future
                              • The Fabric Act seeks to infuse positive change into the clothing industry
                              • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                                • Shopping online isn’t a siloed experience
                                  • The opportunity
                                    • An example
                                        • Figure 7: Amazon Style incorporates some of the best of physical and digital retail
                                      • What it means for brands
                                        • Tech tackles transparency online
                                          • The opportunity
                                            • An example
                                              • Figure 8: Bold Metrics touts fit assistance with Men’s Wearhouse
                                            • The opportunity
                                              • An example
                                                • What it means for brands
                                                  • Curbing returns via fees
                                                    • The opportunity
                                                      • The example
                                                        • What it means for brands
                                                          • Crypto creeps into online luxury purchases
                                                            • The opportunity
                                                              • An example
                                                                • Figure 9: Gucci tests cryptocurrency payments at select US locations
                                                              • What it means for brands
                                                              • The Online Apparel Consumer – Fast Facts

                                                                • Purchase Frequency and Future Intentions

                                                                  • Clothing is a recurrent purchase for consumers
                                                                    • Figure 10: Apparel purchase frequency, 2022
                                                                  • Convenience and inclusion are the key factors to reach frequent clothing buyers
                                                                    • Figure 11: Apparel purchase frequency, by key demos, 2022
                                                                  • Multichannel shopping for clothing is here to stay
                                                                    • Figure 12: Future purchase channels, 2022
                                                                    • Figure 13: Future purchase channels, by key demos, 2022
                                                                • Items Purchased Online

                                                                  • Consumers continue to fill their wardrobe with clothing for a hybrid lifestyle
                                                                    • Figure 14: Items purchased, 2022
                                                                  • Men and women purchase items across the spectrum
                                                                    • Figure 15: Items purchased, by gender, 2022
                                                                  • Multi-purpose pieces win over consumers jumping between home and life
                                                                    • Figure 16: Items purchased, by working location, 2022
                                                                • Retailers Shopped

                                                                  • Amazon, mass merchandisers provide great value to consumers
                                                                    • Figure 17: Retailers shopped, 2022
                                                                  • Women seek retailers with flexibility, options to choose from
                                                                    • Figure 18: Retailers shopped, by gender, 2022
                                                                  • Multicultural consumers seek out retailers with a convenient mobile experience
                                                                    • Figure 19: Retailers shopped, by race and Hispanic ethnicity, 2022
                                                                • Motivations for Purchasing Online

                                                                  • Consumers enjoy the experience provided by online shopping
                                                                    • Figure 20: Motivations to purchase online, 2022
                                                                  • Women are focused on the experience they will receive
                                                                    • Figure 21: Motivations to purchase online, by gender, 2022
                                                                  • Multicultural consumers use online shopping to maximize their dollars
                                                                    • Figure 22: Motivations to purchase online, by race and Hispanic ethnicity, 2022
                                                                  • Flexibility, exclusivity can drive interest in shopping for clothing online
                                                                    • Figure 23: Knix showcases diversity in its Instagram post
                                                                    • Figure 24: Influential factors to shop online, 2022
                                                                  • Men seek out input, approval from their trusted social circle
                                                                    • Figure 25: Influential factors to shop online, by gender, 2022
                                                                  • Multicultural consumers seek sustainability, community
                                                                    • Figure 26: Influential factors to shop online, by race and Hispanic ethnicity, 2022
                                                                • Shopping Behaviors

                                                                  • Consumers need convenience, transparency from brands
                                                                    • Figure 27: Bold Metrics uses AI to provide more accurate sizing for consumers
                                                                    • Figure 28: Online shopping behaviors, 2022
                                                                  • Women seek flexibility and reassurance
                                                                    • Figure 29: Online shopping behaviors, by gender, 2022
                                                                  • Advanced digital tools, omnichannel improve the online shopping experience
                                                                    • Figure 30: Amazon uses virtual try-on to drive shoe sales online
                                                                    • Figure 31: Actions considered online, 2022
                                                                  • Younger generations lead the charge for adopting digital tools
                                                                    • Figure 32: Gucci provides exclusivity for NFT holders
                                                                    • Figure 33: Actions considered online, by generation, 2022
                                                                • Sources of Inspiration

                                                                  • Consumers look to their social circles for guidance
                                                                    • Figure 34: Macy’s livestreaming showcases summer styles
                                                                    • Figure 35: Sources of inspiration, 2022
                                                                  • Encourage younger consumers to be influencers within their own group
                                                                    • Figure 36: Abercrombie partners with creators to showcase their own styles
                                                                    • Figure 37: Sources of inspiration, by gender and age, 2022
                                                                  • Parents seek out ads, social media, brand partnerships for clothing recommendations
                                                                    • Figure 38: Sources of inspiration, by parental status, 2022
                                                                • Influence of Social Media

                                                                  • Social media provides engagement and inspiration opportunities
                                                                    • Figure 39: Actions on social media, 2022
                                                                  • Gen Z uses social media to gut check their clothing ideas
                                                                    • Figure 40: Actions on social media, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • For many consumers, social media is used for basic actions
                                                                    • Figure 41: Engagement frequency, 2022
                                                                  • Online engagement is a young consumer’s game
                                                                    • Figure 42: Engagement frequency, by generation, 2022
                                                                • Attitudes toward Purchasing Apparel Online

                                                                  • Online shopping opens the door for browsing, impulse purchases
                                                                    • Figure 43: Attitudes, 2022
                                                                  • Younger generations see online as a place to engage with brands and others
                                                                    • Figure 44: Lululemon taps into resale opportunities
                                                                    • Figure 45: Attitudes, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Consumers look for transparency from clothing brands
                                                                    • Figure 46: Attitudes – Frustrations, 2022
                                                                  • Consumers across generations look for hands-on assistance from brands online
                                                                    • Figure 47: Attitudes – Frustrations, by generation, 2022
                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                    • Sales data
                                                                      • Forecast
                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                          • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                  • Figure 48: Total US retail sales and forecast of online apparel retailing at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27

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