Global online fashion sales globally recover in April after sinking heavily in March, new data suggests

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After falling 30% in March, ecommerce sales revenue for fashion, apparel and accessories globally has rebounded in April, rising 21% higher than the same time last year suggests new data.

According to Nostro, which tracked the performance of online retailers in the US, UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, traffic is up 9% year-on-year, while orders are up 30% on average.

Consumers also seem more ready to buy when they visit a store, with the conversion rate rising by 12%. Visits, sales and orders have all eclipsed where they were at during the same time last year.

Locked down shoppers are buying from online fashion stores even more than last year right now. This could be because the closure of overall physical retail means there is enough consumer demand to continue to drive online sales – or because consumers are being lured into making fashion purchases now through heavy discounting by retailers who are fighting to keep the online sales coming.

However, the data also suggests that Average Order Value (AOV) has gone down 3% globally and appears to be staying at a lower level. The analysis covers the USA and specific countries in Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

“The data suggests that locked down shoppers are buying from online fashion stores even more than last year right now, possibly because they can’t venture out,” says Matthew Levin, Global Head of Marketing at Nosto. “It could be that even with the closure of overall physical retail, there is enough consumer demand to continue to drive online sales, which would be a positive indicator for ecommerce overall. Alternatively, perhaps consumers are simply being lured into making fashion purchases now through heavy discounting by retailers who are fighting to keep the sales coming in, which is pushing down average order value. If so, this would be an unsustainable tactic over the longer term.”

For the study, Nosto tracked the performance of retailers within fashion, apparel and accessories for a period of 50 days and across 271 merchants that represent a good cross-section of the Fashion, Apparel & Accessory industry. This performance was then compared with the same time period in 2019. The data is based on the performance of 271 merchants that use the Nosto platform in the US, UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. 

Over the whole period, the data shows that visits, orders and total sales globally started dropping noticeably around March 7th. A significant drop was seen after March 12th that bottomed out on March 20th for many, with sales revenue down 32% YoY. At this low point, visits were down 24% and AOV declined by 6%, while conversion rate was down by 9%. Going into April, visits, sales and orders have all eclipsed where they were at during the same time last year.

On the strategies retailers can deploy to improve their website performance, Levin suggests that: “There are a number of tactics retailers can apply to offset some of the challenges in shifting consumer demand and supply chain challenges: from organizing their category pages to surface the most relevant items for the current climate, to prioritizing inventory filtering in product recommendations and on category pages to show only in-stock items, to adjusting their messaging using dynamic content that highlights different ways to still enjoy new apparel items at home.”

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