27 Percent of Apparel Sales Now Happen Online


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Daphne Howland recently contributed an important feature to Retail Dive reporting that 27 percent of apparel sales are now online. According to the most recent Internet Retailer Online Apparel Report; online apparel sales accounted for 27.4 percent of overall U.S. apparel sales in 2017, an increase of 3.9 percent from 2016 and a whopping 20.7 percent from 2015.

Apparel retailers dominated Internet Retailer's 2018 Top 1000 list with 266 (more than any other category) making the list. This data does not include mass-merchant giants like Amazon (number one on that list) and Walmart (number three).

Many consumers say they like buying apparel online. More than 43 percent of U.S. consumer respondents to a survey by PYMNTS.com said they prefer to shop for clothing in stores, nearly 27 percent prefer to shop only online, and about 30 percent said they prefer to do both. Other research has found that more shoppers want to "try before they buy" clothing online. This data helps support the previous percentages proposed for U.S. respondents.

Howland suggested that Amazon is contributing to the rise of apparel e-commerce thanks to its expanding private labels and services like the widely available Prime Wardrobe.

Internet Retailer notes that Children's Place, sitting at number 113 on its Top 1000 list, is undergoing a $50 million digital transformation involving 100 initiatives including in-store Wi-Fi, click-and-collect services, no-minimum free shipping, and in-store mobile checkout.

Gap, Macy's, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Target and other apparel brands are investing in digital sales too. Gap and Target have introduced apparel subscriptions for kids and online styling services.

But delivery expenses of online goods are hitting margins. According to research from post-purchase solutions firm Narvar, many shoppers buy multiple items with the intent to return some of them (especially when it comes to apparel and home goods). On average, 40 percent of shoppers do so at least occasionally. Apparel is returned most often (43 percent), according to the survey of nearly 700 shoppers.

All this growth in apparel is putting pressure on warehouses, distribution centers, and fulfillment elements of business. Having the right SKUs at the right time and delivered rapidly to meet customer expectations has driven the need for dynamic and best-of-breed solutions like WarehouseOS®.

WarehouseOS® works with apparel retailers to minimize warehouse headaches. Contact us for a demo at 801-938-7282 or learn more here.



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