August 30, 2001, 12:00 AM

Online apparel sales will gather more strength, says BizRate

Online clothing sales will withstand a softening economy this fall through discounts and promotions, says BizRate.

Despite an overall softening of the economy and lagging sales at offline apparel retailers, online sales of apparel and accessories are expected to remain healthy this fall, says BizRate.com, a Los Angeles-based comparison shopping site. Apparel sales are likely to get a slight boost this fall as e-retailers discount prices, offer seasonal purchase promotions to online shoppers, and create seasonal specialty boutiques around them.

BizRate says the average purchase price of apparel products online was $112 in the first quarter, up from $96 a year earlier, and female shoppers, accounting for 59% of online apparel buyers in Q1, are driving most of the sales. BizRate says the apparel category rang up more than $525 million in online sales in the first quarter, representing a 10% increase over a year ago.

Recent findings from a Neilsen/NetRatings and Harris Interactive e-commerce survey confirm the growing strength of the apparel category online. Clothing and apparel led all other product categories as the top online revenue generator among 14 product categories tracked.

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