Online clothes shopping hits new high and takes 13% market share, study finds

Online clothes shopping has hit a new high with 44% of UK consumers now hitting the net at least once a month or more for their clothing purchases and a committed 3% doing it daily, according to new research from Cotton Council International.

The propensity for online fashion spend is second only to groceries (50%), the study found.

Online clothes shopping now accounts for 13% of the total market, up from 3% two years ago, as consumers move away from chain and speciality stores (down from 43% to 31.5%). 

The research also reveals 42% of consumers now use the internet to compare products and prices across stores; while a third (33%) go online to browse the latest styles. 

Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, international marketing manager, Cotton Council International, said: “Our research reveals there has been a marked uplift for people going online to research and buy clothing, but not at the expense of quality. This trend has seen retailers across the board take more of an interest in their online clothing offering – ensuring the customer experience, delivered both on- and offline, is second to none.” 

Researchers found just 10% of shoppers spent more than £500.00 on clothes last year, with an average expenditure of £230.00.

According to the study, over half of consumers fear they have less money to spend on clothing compared to last year, which makes spotting a bargain more important than ever. Research revealed 40% of shoppers admit to buying clothes with at least a 20% discount all or most of the time.  

However, a prevailing trait among UK shoppers is a desire for quality – with almost 60% of consumers preferring to spend more on better quality items, and 61% viewing good quality clothes as those that are durable and long-lasting.

Cotton Council International’s biennial research – The Global Lifestyle Monitor Survey (GLM) investigates a wide range of lifestyle issues related to clothing, shopping and textiles among UK residents. 

Thiers-Ratcliffe said: “Today’s shoppers are more vigilant than ever – thinking harder about their clothing purchases and examining what and how much they need to buy. When shoppers are spending their cash they are ensuring they get the best value by choosing quality items. Our COTTON USA ‘Naturally’ Mark is a symbol of purity, strength, comfort and quality and helps shoppers to identify premium cotton items that are made to last.”