For the first time in history, online clothing sales surpassed computer sales, according to the 10th annual Shop.org study conducted by Forrester Research Inc.
The State of Retailing Online 2007 report showed that Americans spent $18.3 billion on clothing, apparel, accessories and footwear in 2006, while they spent $17.2 billion on computer hardware and software. In 2007, about 10 percent of all clothing sales will take place online, according to the report.
Why the leap in clothing sales? Forrester Research suggests that more companies have entered the online market, and increased competition has caused companies to not only offer free shipping, but also allow returns and exchanges. Plus, online sellers are using improved technologies that let shoppers examine products more effectively. In the past, consumers have been hesitant to purchase clothing without touching it first, but now online shoppers not only see better images of clothing, but they can rotate the images, zoom in and quickly change color options.
The reports also said that online sales as a whole are strong. In 2007, online sales (including travel) should rise 18 percent to $259.1 billion.