February 20, 2014, 11:24 AM

Fashion outperforms other e-retail categories in the United Kingdom

U.K. online fashion sales have grown by 258% in the last four years, IMRG and Silverpop say. The category has been the best-performing in e-retail for four of the last five years.

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British online shoppers appear to have a high propensity for style compared with other interests. Fashion-related web sales in the United Kingdom grew by 258% from 2009 to 2013, according to the first Fashion Sector Insight Report by U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group, or IMRG, with support from digital marketing technology provider Silverpop. The category has been the best-performing in e-retail in the country for four of the last five years, the report says.

IMRG tracks metrics for its more than 100 U.K. e-retailer members.

“We have seen changes in the way consumers buy clothing, such as the rise of mobile devices and click and collect, which have contributed to an increase in confidence when shopping online,” says Andrew McClelland, chief operations and policy officer at IMRG. Click and collect is what the British call buy online, pickup in store. That mode of shopping now accounts for 25% of all web sales for U.K. retailers that have both online and physical stores, the report says.

In 2013, online fashion sales grew by 17% year over year in the United Kingdom, IMRG says. That matches the annual growth rate for web sales across all categories among the Top 500 European e-retailers in 2012, according to the Internet Retailer Europe 500 Guide (2013 data is not yet available). IMRG did not break out the 2012 growth rate for British fashion e-retail sales.

In the United Kingdom, 2012 e-retail sales totaled roughly $52.48 billion, or about 11.3% of the $463.10 billion total retail sales in the country, according to guide estimates. The Top 500 European retailers altogether had 2012 web sales of 93.64 billion euros, or about $122.74 billion, according to the guide. Of that, apparel and accessories sales accounted for 21.9%, or roughly 20.55 billion euros ($26.94 billion) in 2012, an increase of 21.1% from the previous year.


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