Does Amazon or Walmart sell more apparel online? And how does Target fit in? What about apparel-focused merchants? Here is a look at the retailers selling the most apparel online.

Apparel retail chains dominate the top 10 online apparel brands when it comes to 2019 web sales. Eight of the leading apparel retailers in online sales are retail chains, and they include five department stores.

It’s worth noting that, although department stores sell a large volume of apparel online, many are struggling from a lack of investment in omnichannel and ecommerce. J. C. Penney Co. Inc. is a prime example of this, as it is the ninth largest online apparel seller, but has recently filed for bankruptcy.

Some of the most innovative apparel merchants are not yet among those selling the most online, but rather on the list of those growing the fastest.

For example, take born-on-the-web bra retailer Third Love. It is further down the apparel category list, at No. 80 in web sales among apparel-focused merchants based in North America. But it grew its 2019 web sales 51.4%, according to Digital Commerce 360, making it the ninth fastest-growing online apparel merchant.

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CEO and co-founder Heidi Zak says there is no secret to growth she is hiding—she is simply following three key tenets: Focus on brand, product and digital experience. By prioritizing those three pillars, and pricing its products so that it can make money on the first order rather than relying on repeat purchases, ThirdLove (No. 296 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000) has been able to maintain fast growth even after reaching a high level of sales.

That’s a rare feat. With a few exceptions, most leading online apparel merchants in Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 either boast large sales or fast growth, but not both. The largest online players are mostly retail chains with both feet firmly planted in stores, while the fastest growers are exclusively born-on-the web brands, mostly newcomers bringing a fresh take to a subcategory.

While the fast-growing retailers are relative newcomers who may be key players in online apparel retail’s future, there is a lot to be said for the power of size and brand recognition. Although they are not apparel-focused, mass merchants Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1), Target Corp. (No. 12) and Walmart Inc. (No. 3) comprised 31.3% of North America’s 2019 online apparel market, up from 29.5% in 2018 and 27.2% in 2017, according to Digital Commerce 360 estimates.

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With more than $35.00 billion in apparel web sales in 2019 that represented 28.8% of the online apparel market, Amazon sells the most apparel online of any retailer, according to Digital Commerce 360 estimates. In fact, Amazon captures 11.1% of all U.S. retail clothing purchases. This data reflects Amazon’s own sales of apparel it has purchased from suppliers as well as apparel sold by other merchants on the Amazon Marketplace.

Between big brands, companies with a historic stronghold in the category and innovative upstarts, the leading apparel merchants are diverse. Each are contributors to the online apparel category and are shaping this large category’s future.

This article is an excerpt from the 2020 Online Apparel Report. For more detailed data and analysis like this, purchase the 2020 Online Apparel Report for $399. Digital Commerce 360 Gold and Platinum members receive a complimentary copy of this report as a part of their membership.

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