Online Women’s Clothing Sales in the UK Industry Market Research Report Now Updated by IBISWorld

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Even though the British retail sector has struggled over the past five years after the onset of the financial crisis, the Online Women’s Clothing Sales industry has bucked this trend and grown significantly by a compound annual rate of 19.4% to £3.25 billion over the five years through 2012-13 as consumers increasingly turned to online shopping to purchase clothing. Retail conditions are expected to improve over the five years through 2017-18 and the industry is forecast to continue to grow strongly as more consumers embrace online shopping to purchase women’s clothing.

IBISWorld industry market research
Increased information technology adoption encourages shoppers to purchase online

The British economy has struggled over the past five years as the onset of the financial crisis severely affected consumer and business confidence as financial markets became turbulent. The retail sector struggled as a result, particularly as conditions were exacerbated by tumultuous conditions across the eurozone. The British retail sector struggled as a result, however, the Online Women's Clothing Sales industry grew rapidly as online shopping became increasingly popular with consumers. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Jeremy Edwards, “there has been significant increase in the adoption of information technology over the past five years and this has translated into consumers turning to online shopping to purchase clothing”. The industry has benefited from strong growth in the proportion of consumers shopping online compared with in physical stores, as they are able to source cheaper goods without dealing with crowds and queues found in store. Consumers are able to access a range of products from the comfort of their own home and compare prices and quality of goods easily.

Consequently, the industry has grown by a compound annual rate of 19.4% over the five years through 2012-13. Firms in the industry are subject to increased international competition due to consumers using online systems for shopping, but have also benefited from developing strong relationships with manufactures, bypassing wholesalers. Industry revenue is expected to grow by a further 15.1% in 2012-13, and the industry will be valued at £3.25 billion.

There have been a number of new enterprises enter the industry and this is expected to continue as the industry remains highly fragmented. Retail conditions are expected to improve slowly over the next five years and the industry will benefit from improving consumer and business confidence. Edwards adds, “firms are expected to continue to invest in technology so that they are able to capture more customers through new mediums such as smartphones”. In addition, technological investment will focus on providing more secure and efficient systems for consumers so that reservations about online purchases are handled.

The industry is forecast to continue to grow strongly over the five years through 2017-18 as more consumers turn to online shopping as a means of purchasing women's clothing. Firms are expected to develop relationships with manufacturers to bypass wholesalers and increase profit margins.

The Online Women’s Clothing Sales industry's three largest players are expected to account for approximately 16% of industry revenue. This is indicative of an industry with a low level of concentration, yet the vast number of operators indicates a high level of competition. Major companies include Arcadia Group and ASOS.

For more information on the Online Women’s Clothing Sales industry, including latest industry trends, statistics, analysis and market share information, purchase the full report from IBISWorld, the nation’s largest publisher of industry research.

IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

Businesses in this industry sell women's and junior's clothing via the internet. This includes online-only retailers as well as bricks-and-mortar stores that have an online presence.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalisation & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld
Recognised as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on many UK industries. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in London, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organisations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call (020) 3008 6568.

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Gavin Smith
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