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Expert predicts rise in online fashion sales

01 March 2013 - 10:20 by Mike Price

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Up to 20 per cent of all clothing sales could be carried out by online within the next three years, according to Numis Securities executive, Andrew Wade.

Drapers reports that current levels sit at 12 per cent or so, but with continued growth in this market, it is likely that more people than ever will be buying their next fashion purchase from the internet.

Wade said that at the moment, much of the momentum in the e-commerce market is being generated by the uptake of smartphones and tablets, which is something that many other experts have agreed with in recent months.

He also argued that the online retailers that will find the most success are those which are able to convince consumers to bundle more into a single online basket.

This makes sense from a business point of view, because many retailers are having to offer free delivery to those carrying out safe shopping online. This means that it is more affordable and efficient to have customers buying multiple items simultaneously, so that the cost of shipping is reduced.

The practice of 'basket building' is not easy to get right, although sites like Amazon are relatively successful by recommending similar products to customers who are viewing a particular item, so that they might part with even more cash in one go.

Wade explained that the culture of returns was damaging online fashion retailers in particular, because this is yet another expense that they have to bear.

Hopefully, improvements to e-commerce sites will make it less likely that consumers will need to return clothing they have purchased. This will not only be more convenient for the buyer, but will also mean that retailers are not being squeezed in areas they had not expected.