The fashion industry has undeniably penetrated the lives of the global populace, and with retail e-commerce sales reaching trillions of U.S. dollars worldwide, it is no surprise that the fashion e-commerce market continues to grow each year as well. In 2023, the global fashion e-commerce market is forecast to reach a value of over 820 billion U.S. dollars. By 2027, it could reach just over 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars.
Among the primary segments of fashion, apparel makes up the majority of what consumers are purchasing online, but accessories and footwear still account for significant amounts of the online fashion market’s revenue worldwide.
The scope of fashion e-commerce
The largest market for fashion e-commerce is found in Asia, followed by North America. In Asia, online fashion revenue is set to account for over 680 billion U.S. dollars by 2027, approximately double the projected revenue of fashion e-commerce in North America in that same year. Of overall fashion retail sales worldwide, nearly 21 percent are e-commerce transactions. In other regions such as Europe, Oceania, or the Americas as a whole, around 30 percent of fashion retail sales are generated through online channels. Fashion sales in Africa are predominantly offline, with only 6.5 percent generated through e-commerce.
While Europe is not the biggest market for online fashion, among the e-commerce fashion companies worldwide with the highest market caps are Europe’s biggest online fashion retailers, Zalando, ASOS, and About You. Still, with Asia being the largest fashion e-commerce market globally, net sales among the top online stores in the fashion segment are largely from companies headquartered in the Eastern continent. Additionally, the immensely popular Chinese fast-fashion site, shein.com, was the most visited fashion site worldwide in May 2022.
The future is fashion
For comfortable online shoppers, it has become far too simple to purchase products with just a few clicks or taps on a mobile device. Among women, clothing and shoes are the most common online impulse purchase worldwide. Women make up the majority of fashion e-commerce buyers, and as of 2022 are mostly likely to fall within the 26 to 35-year-old age range. These consumers favor retailer sites and brand websites of their favorite fashion companies, with two in ten likely to use either of these online channels to purchase apparel during their shopping sessions. Additionally, Amazon and other online marketplaces are also popular options for fashion e-commerce.
As for what kind of items shoppers are buying online, consumers in the United States prefer casual clothing and footwear, as well as athleticwear. In Europe, dresses, skirts, and backless slippers were the top three items with the highest return rates in 2022. The clothing, shoes, and bags and accessories categories were the most commonly purchased items on the internet in China that year. Ultimately, the relevance of fashion in the global e-commerce sphere is undeniable; as different types of fashion continue to grow more accessible online, the future of the fashion e-commerce industry is set to thrive.