More than a third of U.K. shoppers have gone online when they've wanted to treat themselves to new clothes, and they'll continue to do this in the coming years, according to market research firm Mintel.
In fact, online clothing sales are expected to explode, notes the firm, which predicts sales will reach $11.25 billion by 2015—a 60.5-percent increase compared to 2010. Last year, online clothing sales hit $7.01 billion. Sales are expected to reach $7.83 billion by the end of this year—an 11.6-percent increase.
"While the recession and stabilization of the rise in Internet penetration has impacted the online fashion market, sales of online fashion continue to grow," says Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst for Mintel. "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 Web sites and other online retailers entering the fashion market."
The report also found that reviews influence what shoppers will and won't buy. According to Mintel, 57 percent of customers look at reviews from other customers if they're unsure about a fashion site or the items it sells. Mintel also found that 58 percent of shoppers worry about buying from sites that don't have information like a Contact Us page.
Mintel further reports that 40 percent of surveyed shoppers ages 16 to 24 say shopping online doesn't feel like spending money, and often spend more online than when they buy in brick-and-mortar shops.
However, Mintel noted that there are barriers that prevent some consumers from buying online, like returning items and inconsistency in sizes. The latter was of big concern, especially, for women.
"Sales of online clothing and footwear are growing in 2011, but in order to continue driving sales, retailers need to deal better with many of the barriers to online shopping that put people off making actual purchases," Sender says. "In order to compete in the online retail sector, companies need to invest in the latest online technology, as well as ensuring that their Web sites are constantly updated and easy to navigate in order to overcome some of the fears associated with shopping online."
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.