It’s official, shoppers spent more money online on fashion than on computer hardware for the first time last year. Well, American shoppers did, making fashion now the biggest e-commerce category in the US, with the rise of m-commerce and free shipping deals helping to push the growth.
Consumers bought $51.5bn of fashion goods online in 2015 compared to $49.9bn spent on computers, tablets and accessories.
It’s worth pointing out though that ComScore, the specialist that tracks online activity and that provided the figures, includes the expected clothes, shoes and bags in its fashion category but also adds-in make-up.
OK, I’m sure you can see some issues with these figures. After all, if make-up was stripped out of the fashion category and mobile phones were added-into the computer category (which would be fair given that we all go online via mobile these days), the picture would have been very different.
But it does show just how important fashion (and beauty) is/are to overall e-commerce growth.
ComScore said that digital sales for fashion and for computers both grew last year, but fashion was up 19% with the aforementioned free shipping and m-commerce being key. That makes sense – the option of not having to pay for shipping a couple of shirts or a dress, and being able to order them quickly from your smartphone seems very appealing. It might not be as relevant/appealing when spending $500 on a piece of computer equipment. As a result, e-spending on computers only rose 5.3%.
ComScore’s Ada Lella said people are getting more comfortable with making “small purchases” online and that the percentage of e-sales with free shipping is growing.
But what’s also growing fast is the percentage of e-sales via mobile. Shopping from phones and tablets rose to $15.6bn in Q4 of 2015 compared to $10.7bn a year earlier and this is benefitting items like T-shirts, jeans and lipstick rather than laptop computers or iPads.
In fact, ComScore said that mobile is the growth driver, and desktop (which includes laptops) is fast turning into a “secondary touchpoint” for a large percentage of US digital shoppers.
ComScore says mobile now accounts for 65% with apps key to that usage. Not that desktop/laptop is on the way out as the majority of transactions still take place there as the $15.6bn m-commerce figure shows.
What it all highlights is that omnichannel is key. OK, I hear you say, we know that! But do we really? Many companies still focus on desktop as the main channel for their investment spend. And while many also put money into mobile and apps, I’m shocked at how often I see references to this being a cost-effective investment because it’s “cheap”.
This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday