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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : February 01, 2007

Online clothing sales doing a roaring trade in the U.K.

Despite its disadvantages over bricks and mortar, online clothes shopping in the U.K. has exceeded the $2.5 billion mark.

by Helen Leggatt

Consumer researchers Mintel reported that the amount spent by online shoppers in the U.K. rose a massive 461 percent since 2001. Sales are expected to continue to increase another 138%, to just over $5.5 billion, between now and 2011.

"The online clothing industry is still in relative infancy but there is little doubt that 2006 was the defining year for the online fashion market," said Neil Mason, a senior retail analyst with Mintel.

And that growth is despite several obvious disadvantages to online clothes shopping. While rich media has enabled many e-retailers to employ features such as zoom and rotation, the inability to try items on and not being able to feel the quality and texture of a fabric were still major deterrents to sales. 42 percent of consumers said they would like access to videos of models wearing the clothing.

However, Mintel said the "fundamental" reason for the surge was the increase in households with broadband, up from 13 per cent in October 2003 to 48 per cent in October 2006.

Tags: clothing, Mintel, online research, online retailing, online shopping

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