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Over half of online shoppers in the European Union bought clothes and sports goods online last year. Clothing is the most popular product category online in many European countries, such as the UK, Germany, France, Russia, Poland, Turkey and Finland.

This is the most important finding of a new report on online sales of apparel by business research company yStats.com. Not only are the online fashion sales growing, the ecommerce share of total retail sales of this product category is also increasing. In the United Kingdom, over 10 percent of fashion sales were done online in the first six months of this year. Other Western European nations also approach that figure. yStats predicts that in Germany, online sales of apparel will account for over one third of the country’s total apparel sales by 2025.

Double-digit growth in Eastern Europe

“While the online penetration is significantly lower in emerging Eastern European countries, B2C ecommerce sales of clothing are also growing there, rising at double-digit growth rates in Russia, Turkey, and other markets”, the company states.

The online fashion industry, not only in Europe but all around the globe, is still trying to deal with some hard challenges, such as the high rate of returns. Many consumers send back clothing and accessories they bought online, because the products don’t fit their needs. This comes mostly from the inability to try products before the purchase.

Store-based clothing retailers such as H&M and NEXT have the advance of offering their customers the ability to try clothes and to return them in store, while pureplay online retailers such as Asos, Zalando and Wildberries have to resolve this another way. Virtual fitting and sizing technologies such as Fitle, EasySize and VirtuSize could help them reduce returns.

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