The Driving Force Behind Online Apparel Sales

online apparel sales 2016

A new study from the NPD Group revealed how changing consumer needs and the evolving retail marketplace contributed to increased online apparel sales in the U.S. last year.

Dollar sales for women’s, men’s and children’s apparel grew by 3 percent in 2016, reaching $218.7 billion, Chain Store Age reported.

The growth of online shopping was boosted during and immediately after the holiday shopping season, which the report identified as one of the biggest retail shifts in 2016. Last year, online sales represented 19 percent of total U.S. men’s, women’s and children’s apparel sales.

However, the growth in usage of the online shopping continues to have impacts on more traditional retail departments, national chains and specialty channels.

“The apparel industry is being pushed and pulled in different directions by consumers who are demanding something different and looking to less traditional buying channels to find it,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for the NPD Group, explained.

“Maturing millennials have a stronger shopping voice than ever before, but teens are showing a lack of passion for fashion, and baby boomers are feeling forgotten. The who, what, where, when and how of shopping are shifting as apparel consumers express their different desires and needs at retail,” Cohen continued.

Within the apparel sector, the athleisure movement continues to see growth. In 2016, the athleisure apparel segment saw an 11 percent increase, growing the movement to a $45.9 billion market.

The data showed that jeans also saw positive growth last year, rebounding to align with the industry’s 3 percent growth rate and reaching $15.3 billion in sales.

“Amidst all the change, there is one constant in apparel sales performance — the apparel industry isn’t delivering a product experience that will compel consumers to increase their spend,” Cohen noted. “Consumers may be driving the recent trends in apparel, but retail needs to respond and take ownership of the business back in order capture the greater growth opportunities that exist.”


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