Jun 28, 2019
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Online fashion growth sees sharp slowdown - Kantar

Jun 28, 2019

Online sellers may have been the growth drivers behind the fashion retail sector as a whole in recent years, but their growth has dropped to its slowest rate ever, new data shows.

UK e-shopping growth was tiny in the past three months

Figures from market analytics company Kantar showed year-on-year growth in the 12 weeks up to June 2 was only 0.6%. In the same period in 2018 it was 8% and in 2017 it was 6.8%.

The data, reported in The Times, is particularly worrying as it comes at a time when many physical shops are in decline and in earlier periods, increasing online sales had at least shown that consumers were still interested in buying more fashion than they did a year earlier.

And given that the online sector is now very large, with a value of £2.1 billion compared to £5.5 billion for offline sales, such anaemic growth in e-commerce has a big impact on fashion and retail as a whole.

Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar, told the newspaper: “The market is incredibly challenging for all retailers at the moment. Online growth has been slowing over a number of years, partly as the sector has grown. We're starting to see it plateau.”

Of course, the weak growth in March, April and May has to be seen in the context of the weather. Mild temperatures in late winter and early spring could have suppressed interest in the usual cold weather clothing that consumers would have bought but without exciting interest in spring ranges. Later in the spring, heavy rain would also have suppressed demand for sunshine-focused clothing that would have dominated the rails during May.

The big question is whether the current spell of warmer temperatures can help spur demand for high-summer ranges and help to rescue the season overall. The evidence we've heard so far from many fashion retailers suggests not.

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