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Clothing tops online sales ahead of computers, says Forrester Research

14
May '07
As the Internet grows up, computers have moved over to make room for clothing at the top of the sales list. According to the first part of The State of Retailing Online 2007, the tenth annual Shop.org study conducted by Forrester Research, Inc of 170 retailers, Americans last year spent more online on clothing than they did on computers for the first time in history. The report found the apparel, accessories and footwear category reached $18.3 billion in 2006 and is expected to hit $22.1 billion in 2007. This year, 10 percent of all clothing sales are expected to occur online.

“Apparel retailers have overcome a number of hurdles to encourage shoppers to buy clothing and accessories online,” said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org. “Retailers are doing such a great job online that in some cases it's easier to find and buy clothing on the web than it is in a store.”

The report suggests that the apparel and accessories category has experienced strong sales because of an influx of new companies and liberal shipping policies such as free shipping on returns and exchanges. Additionally, apparel and accessories retailers are integrating new technologies onto their sites including rich imaging, where customers can zoom and rotate merchandise or see the item in different colors before buying, all of which eases the mind of a customer who is hesitant to purchase apparel online.

Online Sales to Soar Again this Year:
According to the report, 2007 online sales (including travel) are expected to rise 18 percent to $259.1 billion. Sales excluding travel will reach $174.5 billion. This strong growth will come off of an impressive performance in 2006. Online sales last year rose 25 percent to $219.9 billion. Excluding travel, online retail sales rose 29 percent to $146.5 billion, representing six percent of total retail sales in 2006.*


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