In the United Kingdom people are deserting brick-and-mortar clothes shops in large numbers to buy online. The current trend reveals a society which has become more conscious of quality as well as price.
One might think that certain types of consumer behaviour are well entrenched for certain types of product. However, when it comes to clothes-buying, which to date has been the epitome of touch-and-feel shopping, customers are now much less hesitant about going online to make their purchases. This is what’s happening in the UK, where consumer habits are changing. Buying ready-to-wear apparel on the Internet has grown significantly and is now almost up at grocery shopping levels. A study carried out by Cotton Council International reveals that just under nine out of ten British consumers now buy their clothes online.
Changing consumer habits
Some 44% of British people surveyed say they go online at least once a month to buy clothes, with a committed 3% doing so daily. This segment is now second only to groceries (50%) in terms of the nation’s shopping habits. Moreover, 13% say they buy most of the contents of their wardrobe online. Customers seem to be shifting away from buying at high-street chains and speciality stores, with only 31.5% now doing so, compared with 43% two years ago.
Retailers following suit
According to Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, International Marketing Manager at COTTON USA, an American ready-to-wear brand, “there has been a marked uplift for people going online to research and buy clothing.” According to the CCI study, 42% of British consumers now use the Internet to compare products and prices across stores, while 33% go online to browse the latest styles. As a result, clothes retailers across the board are looking beyond their bricks-and-mortar stores and taking more interest in their online offering, making an effort to ensure that their virtual shop window is as well-dressed as their high-street display window.