How big is the global market for clothing in e-commerce and m-commerce?
In recent years, clothing has established itself among the most purchased product categories in the B2C e-commerce globally. Moreover, the Internet has become a significant factor influencing the decision of consumers to buy garments, even if the eventual purchase takes place in bricks and mortar stores. Over two-third of consumers with Internet access compare prices online, read reviews visit home pages of clothing manufacturers or research new brands on their computers and mobile devices.
Though the trend is global, the size of the market varies by region. One of the major factors determining the strength of the online market for home textiles and apparels is the development of the total B2C in the country or region. Hence, the US is the leading market worldwide, with online retail sales of clothing about to top half a hundred billion US dollars this year, and outpacing the total B2C e-commerce market in terms of annual growth.
Clothing is among the leading online product categories in regions, such as North America, Western Europe, and the richest Asian countries, which are also the most developed B2C e-commerce markets worldwide. An increasing share of online shoppers in these regions buy garments over the Internet, sometimes even a larger than that of buying books or consumer electronics. The trend is even more true for m-commerce. For example, in the US, books and video games are more popular than apparels, but in m-commerce clothing is unbeaten. Already around a quarter of the US consumers who bought garments online in the beginning of last year used smartphones and tablets to do so.
Across the Atlantic, in the European Union, the share of individuals purchasing clothes online increased in 2012, reaching over 20 percent of individuals. The growth trend in popularity of online shopping for fashion products is reflected in revenues. In Germany, for example, B2C e-commerce sales of apparel grew by almost one third in 2012, reaching a high one-digit number in millions of Euros. UK is one of the most advanced markets for online clothing, with the online and mobile channel together accounting for over 10 percent of total retail sales of clothing last year. The share of the UK consumers who prefer Internet over other sales channels of clothing more than doubled in the last two years. The same trend is noticeable in Japan. Clothing is the most purchased product in online retail, and Internet is the preferred channel for more and more consumers to buy fashion products.
Emerging markets started to come to the forefront of the clothing e-commerce market last year and they are expected to make further step in 2013. The potential of the online clothing retail in markets, such as China and Russia, expressed in high growth figures. The Chinese e-commerce market for clothing, including B2C and C2C, grew by over a half in 2012 and it is likely to continue booming. In Russia, local online clothing retailers saw their sales surge upwards in 2012, as more consumers grow increasingly comfortable with shopping for apparels online and local and foreign capitalists pour investments of millions of US dollars.
Increasing number of online shoppers has attracted the attention of global clothing retailers and investors in recent years and it will continue to be in the spotlight. In more established B2C e-commerce markets, mobile commerce is the trend for this year and the upcoming years because more smartphone and tablet owners will use their devices to compare prices, research, check for sales and coupons, view clothing products and purchase them.
Published on: 16/08/2013
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.