The share of online apparel sales as a portion of total apparel and accessories sales is increasing at a faster pace than all of U.S. ecommerce. Online apparel sales grew 18.5% in 2018 and represented 34.4% of U.S. apparel sales, up from 30.6% in 2017, according to the new Internet Retailer 2019 Online Apparel Report.
Comparatively, all of U.S. ecommerce grew 15% last year and accounted for 14% of total sales, according to Internet Retailer’s analysis of U.S. Commerce Dept. figures.
The growth in apparel is in part thanks to web-only startups disrupting the apparel market, much like underwear retailer MeUndies.
MeUndies represents everything that is going right with online apparel:
- It is a recently launched, digitally native, vertically integrated brand.
- The e-retailer has raised capital in the past, but has not needed to recently since it achieved profitability.
- MeUndies has one store, which keeps costs low.
- And it sells a product in one of the online apparel category’s fastest-growing subcategories—sleepwear/lingerie.
While MeUndies has been on the fast path to growth, not all merchants can say the same.
Of the 252 apparel merchants in Internet Retailer’s Top 1000, the largest online apparel merchants are retail chains. But apparel retail chains have struggled in recent years, closing stores and pivoting strategies, along with working to compete with consumer brand manufactures, which are raising capital and selling direct to consumers online.
Contrast this with the fastest-growing online apparel merchants, which are consumer brand manufacturers and web-only merchants. These fast growers largely have a recent launch date, a low store count and have raised investment capital.
The all-new 2019 Online Apparel Report digs into these differences among apparel merchant types. The report contains exclusive research about the online apparel market, which is the largest and one of the most competitive retail categories in ecommerce.
Online apparel sales grew 18.5% last year
Overall, including apparel-focused retailers and mass merchants that sell clothing, U.S. online apparel sales grew 18.5% in 2018 over 2017, far faster than total apparel retail sales growth at 5.3%.
The report dives into what is happening now with online apparel merchants, including the current state of opening stores, closing stores, investment funding rounds, the current trend of rental apparel, why there is a surge in undergarment retailers and what retailers are doing to combat the heavy volume of returns that plague online apparel sellers.
The 75-page Online Apparel Report includes:
- Full list of the 252 largest online apparel merchants ranked by 2018 sales, with growth rate and subcategory for each
- Data on the 15 fastest-growing and 15 largest online apparel retailers, including growth rates and how they rank among the Top 1000 based on 2018 online sales
- More than 25 charts quantifying the state of the online apparel industry
- Interviews with top executives at leading and fastest-growing online apparel retailers
- Online apparel market share breakdown by the Top 1000 merchants, mass merchants and Amazon
- Amazon’s online apparel sales estimates
- An analysis of why the lingerie/sleepwear subcategory is one of the fastest growing in apparel
- Data on online apparel merchant investment funding
- An in-depth look at why more retailers are launching a rental arm to their business
- Exclusive consumer survey results on how shoppers browse and buy apparel online
- Strategic ways online apparel merchants are reducing their return rates
- View the table of contents here
The 2019 Online Apparel Report can be downloaded now as a PDF for $299. Digital Commerce 360 Gold and Platinum Members receive a complimentary copy of this report as a part of their membership.