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Forrester: Online fashion growth outshines offline sales

The second-largest retail sub-category is in flux.

The online fashion market has grown by a 14% compounded annual growth rate since 2012, a stark contrast from 1% of growth offline, according to Forrester. According to the data, fashion is the second largest retail spending sub-category, trailing behind the food and drink category, and makes up 12% of the total retail spend. The fashion market grew from $375.6 billion in 2012 to $433.6 billion in 2017.

Boot Barn top the top spot as the fastest-growing fashion retailer in 2017, with a 42% increase in year-over-year sales. It was followed by G-III Apparel, whose annual sales rose 39%, and Asos, at 33%. Rounding out the top five were Hudson’s Bay, at 30%, and Duluth Holdings, at 24%.

The category has seen a shake-out in recent years, with online pure- plays, wholesale brands and off-price retailers seeing the most growth in 2017 with increases of 23%, 7% and 7%, respectively. Department stores grew a mere 2%.

Customers are spending most with pure-play retailers (21%), followed by online stores (11%), manufacturer sites (5%), and online marketplaces (4%).

When choosing where to invest their wallet share, women’s clothing gets the most sales (32%), followed by shoes (22%), men’s clothing (18%), accessories (14%), children’s clothing (11%), and infant/toddler clothing (4%), the data revealed.

Subscription boxes are also showing potential for the future, but adoption remain slow. While 18% of those surveyed were interested in fashion delivery services, 0% are actually using one, according the study.

“As the online share of retail spend exceeds the online share of total retail spend, the bottom line is many consumers are comfortable buying fashion online,” according to the study.
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