U.S. apparel sales are projected to grow across across the category, with consumers increasingly shopping via a variety of channels, according to The Future of Apparel, a new report from global information company The NPD Group.
“Retail is not dead, it is just spread. The apparel industry is spread across a wider range of options than ever before, be it in-store, online, buy, rent, or resell,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, The NPD Group. “Online has opened the doors to more ways to engage consumers.”
Almost half of the U.S. online buying population made an apparel purchase online in 2017. NPD’s Checkout E-Commerce Tracking information, which is based on information collected from more than three million consumers through data provided by partner Slice Intelligence, reveals that the average annual apparel online spend per buyer increased 11%, compared to 2016. In particular, The Future of Apparel uncovers that the largest consumer segment is also very comfortable shopping online—they are shoppers who consider themselves to be social-, fashion-, and image-conscious. The report also reveals higher rates of shifting online in sales of seasonal and special-occasion categories, like tailored clothing, sleep, and outerwear.
“Apparel’s online consumer audience is expanding as the platform evolves into a more complete and diverse shopping experience,“ adds Cohen.
Despite the increasing growth opportunities for online retail sales, the majority of clothing purchases are still being made in-store, the report finds. In 2017, 76% of annual apparel sales came from in-store purchases, according to the report. In the same year, 21% of annual apparel sales came from website purchases.