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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the How Online Shopping for Apparel is Evolving for Consumers market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report will focus on how consumers are shopping for apparel online and how that behavior has evolved or changed in recent years, including what motivates consumers to shop the category online, what barriers currently limit or prevent consumers from purchasing clothing online, and what retailers can do to improve online apparel shopping in the future.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alexis DeSalva, a leading analyst in the Retail & Apparel sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Although the way consumers shop for clothes has evolved drastically throughout the years, with digital becoming an integral part of the process, the reasons for shopping and the desired experience remains the same. Consumers will always have a need for clothing and they still want to be excited about buying it. They’re seeking a new version of convenience, but they also want to enjoy product discovery and are looking to form a connection with retailers and brands. For retailers, it’s about using all available mediums – online, in-person (when/if available) and social – to establish authentic connections with shoppers and keep them excited about discovering and buying clothes, however they choose to do so. Alexis DeSalva
Retail & Apparel Analyst


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • What clothing shoppers are buying online
        • What shoppers seek when buying clothes online
          • Definition
          • Executive Summary

            • Overview
              • Category Evolution
                • Key issues and opportunities
                  • Issue: consumers still want the tactile experience of shopping in person, resulting in concerns about buying without seeing
                    • Opportunity: using alternative options to create stress-free shopping and prompt more purchases
                      • Issue: word of mouth impacts sales
                        • Opportunity: quality reviews can promote transparency and increase retailer credibility
                        • Apparel Online – State of the Market

                          • Online shopping is here to stay: consumers are almost entirely connected
                            • Figure 1: Devices used to access the internet, December 2017
                          • Consumers will spend on clothes, even if they face financial restrictions
                            • Figure 2: Items purchased, by household income, September 2018
                        • Market Breakdown

                          • Sales shift toward casual
                            • Figure 3: Items purchased, dress versus casual, September 2018
                          • Dress clothes: a thing of the past or a purchase reserved for in-store?
                          • Market Perspective

                            • Consumers appreciate the convenience, but still have concerns with buying clothes online, no matter the recipient
                              • Thoughts on shopping for self, versus others:
                                • How can retailers make online clothes shopping easier, no matter the recipient?
                                  • Subscription or rental services
                                    • Try before you buy
                                      • Supplemental information
                                        • Figure 4: Everlane email campaign, September 2018
                                    • Key Drivers

                                      • Convenience and recipients drive consumers to shop online
                                        • Figure 5: Item recipients, September 2018
                                      • Using social media to connect with customers and create loyalty among online shoppers
                                        • Retailer spotlight: Everlane and Outdoor Voices
                                          • Figure 6: Outdoor Voices email campaign, September 2018
                                      • Retailers: What’s Working?

                                        • Key takeaways
                                          • Retailers most shopped for apparel online
                                            • Figure 7: Amazon core 10 email campaign, October 2018
                                          • Amazon reigns, but traditional retailers remain relevant
                                            • Figure 8: Retailers shopped, September 2018
                                          • Men shop Amazon, while women visit traditional retailers and mass
                                          • Retailers: What’s Struggling?

                                            • Key takeaways
                                              • Retailers battle to win the loyalty of Hispanic shoppers
                                                • Value prompts where Hispanic shoppers buy clothes online
                                                  • Figure 9: Retailers shopped, by those of Hispanic origin, September 2018
                                              • Retailers: What’s Next?

                                                • Key takeaways
                                                  • Retailers and concepts to watch
                                                    • Alternative retailers attract young, higher income shoppers and parents
                                                      • Figure 10: Retailers shopped, by select demographics, September 2018
                                                      • Figure 11: Ann Taylor Infinite Style email campaign, August 2018
                                                  • Consumer Insights – What You Need to Know

                                                    • What consumers seek – convenience and comparison
                                                      • What prevents purchases
                                                        • What influences purchases
                                                        • Online Shopping Behavior

                                                          • Key takeaways
                                                            • Familiarity and price dictates most shoppers’ behavior
                                                              • Figure 12: Online shopping behavior, September 2018
                                                            • Older shoppers need convincing to shop new retailers
                                                              • Figure 13: Online shopping behavior, men & women 55+ vs overall, September 2018
                                                            • Young adults and parents are targets for basket building
                                                              • Figure 14: Online shopping behavior, by age of children in household, September 2018
                                                            • Hispanic shoppers read reviews and are willing to share
                                                              • Figure 15: Online shopping behavior and pre-purchase process, Hispanic origin vs overall, September 2018
                                                              • Figure 16: Everlane email campaign, October 2018
                                                          • Items Purchased and Item Recipients

                                                            • Key insights
                                                              • Casual clothing is most common
                                                                • What are they buying?
                                                                  • Figure 17: Items purchased, September 2018
                                                                • Who’s buying clothing online?
                                                                  • Figure 18: Item recipients, September 2018
                                                                • Young shoppers are actively buying clothing, regardless of income
                                                                  • Figure 19: Anthropologie email campaign, November 2018
                                                                • Men make more self-purchases, while women shop for others
                                                                  • Figure 20: Item recipients (NET), by gender, September 2018
                                                                  • Figure 21: Item recipients (NET), moms vs dads, September 2018
                                                                • Older shoppers shouldn’t be overlooked
                                                                  • Figure 22: Item purchased for self only, by age and gender, September 2018
                                                                • Self-purchases prompts different behavior
                                                                  • Figure 23: Item purchased for self only, by select online shopping behavior, September 2018
                                                              • Reasons for Buying Clothes Online versus In-store

                                                                • Key takeaways
                                                                  • Recipients drive top reasons for shopping online
                                                                    • Figure 24: Reasons for buying clothes online versus in-store, September 2018
                                                                  • Appeal to young shoppers by helping them stay on budget
                                                                    • Figure 25: Everlane email campaign, December 2017
                                                                    • Figure 26: Reasons for buying clothes online versus in-store, by age and income, September 2018
                                                                  • Black shoppers appreciate the ease of comparing and buying, while Hispanics like to manage spending
                                                                    • Figure 27: Reasons for buying clothes online versus in stores, by Black and Hispanic shoppers, September 2018
                                                                • Barriers to Buying Online

                                                                  • Key takeaways
                                                                    • Product accuracy and buying without seeing are top concerns
                                                                        • Figure 28: Barriers to Buying Online, September 2018
                                                                      • Older women possess product concerns while young women are blocked by post-purchase frustrations
                                                                        • Figure 29: Barriers to buying online for women, by age, September 2018
                                                                        • Figure 30: Amazon Prime wardrobe email campaign, November 2018
                                                                      • Additional fees prohibit young shoppers and parents more than others
                                                                        • Figure 31: Barriers to buying online, 18-34s vs over-45s and parental status, September 2018
                                                                    • Pre-Purchase Process

                                                                      • Key insights
                                                                        • A combination of product information and reviews is especially important
                                                                          • Figure 32: Pre-purchase process (all or most of the time), September 2018
                                                                        • Active shoppers more likely to compare shipping, delivery and returns before buying
                                                                            • Figure 33: Pre-purchase process (all of the time), by age, September 2018
                                                                            • Figure 34: Pre-purchase process (all of the time), by parental status, September 2018
                                                                          • In-store browsing is still important to parents
                                                                            • Figure 35: Amazon Prime fashion email campaign, November 2018
                                                                          • Hispanic shoppers turn to social media before buying
                                                                            • Figure 36: Checking social media for reviews, by Hispanic origin, September 2018
                                                                        • Attitudes toward Buying Clothes Online

                                                                          • Key takeaways
                                                                            • Online has impacted how consumers buy clothes, with many doing a mix of online and offline shopping
                                                                              • Figure 37: Attitudes toward buying clothes online, September 2018
                                                                            • Youngest generations shop around and buy more frequently
                                                                              • Figure 38: Attitudes toward buying clothes online (select), iGen vs overall, September 2018
                                                                            • A bad experience could deter older shoppers from returning
                                                                              • Black shoppers are adventurous online
                                                                                • Figure 39: Attitudes toward buying clothes online, Black (Non-Hispanic) shoppers vs overall, September 2018
                                                                            • Reviews and Endorsements: Attitudes and Enhancements

                                                                              • Key takeaways
                                                                                • Product reviews and personal recommendations are most important
                                                                                  • Figure 40: Attitudes toward reviews and endorsements, September 2018
                                                                                • What consumers want in reviews
                                                                                  • Older, male shoppers are dissuaded by negative experiences
                                                                                    • Shoppers have mixed feelings regarding browsing and buying through social media
                                                                                      • Figure 41: Attitudes toward reviews and endorsements (disagree), by select demographics, September 2018
                                                                                  • Desired Improvements

                                                                                    • Key takeaways
                                                                                      • Shoppers want reassurance on potential purchases and assistance with unwanted items
                                                                                        • Figure 42: Desired improvements (NET any rank), September 2018
                                                                                      • Improving reviews – sharing and content – could persuade parents to shop more
                                                                                        • Figure 43: Desired improvements (NET any rank), by parental status, September 2018
                                                                                      • Hispanic shoppers show an interest in styling opportunities
                                                                                        • Figure 44: Desired improvements and online shopping behavior (NET any rank), by Hispanic origin, September 2018
                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                                          • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                            • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                • Abbreviations

                                                                                                About the report

                                                                                                This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                • The Consumer

                                                                                                  What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                • The Competitors

                                                                                                  Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                • The Market

                                                                                                  Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                • The Innovations

                                                                                                  New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                • The Opportunities

                                                                                                  Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                • The Trends

                                                                                                  What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.