SOURCE: eMarketer

August 27, 2007 09:00 ET

Apparel Is Largest and Fastest-Growing Retail Category Online

But Uphill Battle Remains for Retailers to Entice More Digital Customers

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - August 27, 2007) - Sales of apparel are the largest and fastest-growing US online retail category. Convenience and finding bargains remain consumers' key motivations for buying apparel online. At the same time, several surveys show many consumers prefer buying clothing in a store.

According to eMarketer's report "US Apparel E-Commerce," the percent of apparel sales transacted online has increased and will continue to increase due to a range of factors including: wider broadband adoption, more women online, greater confidence in online purchases, consumer-friendly policies and better tools for product visualization.

Forrester Research estimates that online sales will reach $22.1 billion in 2007, up 21% over 2006.

But as Forrester reported, 2006 online sales of apparel, accessories and footwear accounted for only 8% of total apparel sales. By this measure, apparel lags far behind other retail categories such as computers, where 41% of sales occur online. Apparel is one of several product categories that consumers prefer to buy in stores because they can touch, feel and try on items.

Nevertheless, retailers are employing various marketing techniques to lower consumer resistance to buying apparel online. They are in the forefront of using visualization tools, personalizing service and adopting liberal shipping and return policies.

Though the Internet is expected to claim a greater share of apparel sales, "This is only half the opportunity for retailers," says Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst and author of the report. "Apparel is a big cross-channel shopping category. Traditional retailers who understand the purchase process will develop strategies for driving online shoppers to their stores."

About eMarketer

eMarketer is "The First Place to Look" for market research information related to the Internet, e-business, online marketing and emerging technologies. eMarketer aggregates and analyzes e-business research from over 2,800 sources, and brings it together in analyst reports, daily research articles and the "eStat Database" -- the most comprehensive database of e-business and online marketing statistics in the world. Visit for more information.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Kris Oser
    Director of strategic communications
    Email Contact
    Tel. 212-763-6033

    Jared Jenks
    Marketing communications coordinator
    Email Contact
    Tel. 212-763-6044