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Top global fashion industry players, such as H&M and Inditex, plan to shut some physical stores to focus more on online strategies, says new yStats.com report

The latest publication from Germany-based online research firm yStats.com, “Global Clothing B2C E-Commerce Market 2021” offers a comprehensive overview of the online apparel market worldwide. The report provides insights into possible future developments of the industry, based on the forecasted market values, consumers’ preferences and intentions, as well technological trends. The publication reveals that “Footwear” B2C E-Commerce transaction value in South Korea witnessed the greatest increase of over 35% year-on-year from 2019 to 2020.

While the traditional fashion industry worldwide retracted amid COVID-19, the online clothing market thrived

The global fashion industry experienced a drastic drop in sales volume after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. However, with the increasing digitization of consumers, retailers have begun to new comprehensive strategies, such as the introduction of digital sales channels or the expansion of omnichannel services. The acceleration of the online market in the apparel market allowed merchants who could adapt to online to maintain sales figures. Furthermore, over half of the global retail growth in the forecast between 2020 and 2025 will come from online sales, and within that period about 10% of digital sales are forecast to be in hands of the fashion industry. The dominant players of the market such as Global Fashion Group and ASOS saw an increase in the revenue of between 10% and 20% from 2019 to 2020.

In 2020 and 2021, the sales value of online apparel market accelerated rapidly due to the consumers’ high adoption rate

A significant share of countries worldwide experienced a boost in E-Commerce sales in the clothing industry, especially remarkable after the COVID-19 health crisis occurred in 2020. In Japan, namely, the growth in the clothing B2C E-Commerce market accelerated over the year 2020 more than it did between 2018 and 2019. In South Korea, the sales value went up as well from 2019 to 2020, and the clothing sector was the biggest contributor to the B2C E-Commerce market of the country in 2020. In the United States, the online retail sales of apparel and accessories increased at almost 19% year-on-year from 2019 to 2020, which was the fastest-growing product category, accounting for slightly over 1 in 5 of total B2C E-Commerce purchases in the country.  In the UK, however, despite the online sales in the clothing segment growing steadily over the next few years, the growth rate was expected to peak in 2021 and decline thereafter.

“Fashion and apparel” segment in most countries was the top product segment to shop for online in 2020

“Fashion and apparel” was the dominant product category among the consumers worldwide when it came to shopping online both locally and cross-border in 2020. In Japan, when purchasing items online cross-border, over a quarter of consumers opted for clothing/apparel products. In Australia as well, this product segment led others. In China, clothing and accessories was one of the leading segments imported via E-Commerce platforms in 2020, accounting for 2 in 5 of cross-border online purchases. Clothing/apparel was also the most popular category to purchase when shopping cross-border online in Russia, Spain, Belgium, Austria and Denmark.

Amazon and Shein.com are the top-visited websites for purchasing apparel online in many regions in 2021

According to the global ranking of the most popular clothing E-Commerce websites, as of August 2021, Shein.com was the most visited one, with the United States visits contributing a significant part of it. Moreover, in the US, the largest share of online apparel sales in 2020 was held by Amazon, followed by Target. In the United Kingdom, the popular industry players were Amazon as well, followed by ASOS and eBay, as of February 2021. In Germany, however, online-only retailers, such as Zalando or Zooplus were the most preferred ones when shopping for clothes, and following them was Amazon, as of 2021.