Sales of online fashion in the UK totalled £4.3 billion in 2010, an increase of 152 per cent over the last five years, according to new report released today.
Research from Mintel estimates this market is set to grow by a further 45 per cent by 2015 reaching £6.9 billion, and online trading in fashion items is expected to total £4.8 billion this year.
Today’s results from Capgemini and IMRG showed fashion as the strongest sector for e-tail last month and Mintel’s data suggests that online fashion out-performed almost all sectors throughout the whole of 2010.
Tamara Sender, Senior Fashion Analyst at Mintel, said: “While the recession and stabilisation of the rise in internet penetration has impacted the online fashion market, sales of online fashion continue to grow.
“The market received a boost as several high street fashion retailers enveloped their online channels at the end of 2010, with leading high street retailers launching websites and other online retailers entering the fashion market.”
International fashion retailers Zara, H&M and Gap all launched transactional websites at the end of last summer, indicative of how important the sector now views e-tail.
Becoming established within e-tail seems important to fashion trading, with 58 per cent of respondents to Mintel’s survey saying that they were nervous about buying from websites with which they were unfamiliar.
Social media will be an increasingly key tool to the industry, Mintel anticipates, with three in ten liking to leave reviews on websites and 57 per cent seeking customer feedback via reviews before making a purchase.
Sender added: “Innovation is key and retailers and brands need to maximise online sales by selling clothes via social networking sites and using Facebook and Twitter to interact with consumers and improve their services.
“Despite rising smartphone ownership, particularly among young consumers, many fashion retailers have been slow to ensure that they have mobile optimised websites and many have still not launched apps.”
Four in ten 16 to 24-year-olds believe that shopping online doesn’t really feel like spending money but 51 per cent of Brits are put off buying clothes online due to the hassle of returning goods through the post ,and 30 per cent worried about online security.