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UK online fashion sales set to hit £6.9bn in 2015

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Brits are ever more likely to buy their clothes online, with 35% doing just that in 2010. That’s the conclusion of a new report from leading market research agency Mintel, which finds that online fashion sales in the UK have risen by 152% over the last five years, reaching a value of £4.3bn in 2010.

It predicts that the market for online fashion will reach £4.8bn by the end of 2011, and £6.9bn by the end of 2015.

The report comes after a year in which fashion retailers including Gap, H&M and Zara started to sell online in the UK for the first time.

Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst at Mintel, said: ““While growth in online clothing sales during 2011 is expected to be impacted by the economy, more innovative online campaigns, together with new technology such as augmented and 3D reality, use of QR codes and mobile optimised sites, will help to overcome people’s fears of shopping online and draw more people to the sector.”

Innovation, she said, would be key, and will include selling and engaging with consumers through social networking sites and by mobile phone. But, she warned: “Despite rising smartphone ownership, particularly among young consumers, many fashion retailers have been slow to ensure that they have mobile optimised websites and many have still not launched apps.”

The research shows that online fashion is addictive, said Sender. She said 40% of 16-24-year-olds believe shopping online doesn’t really feel like spending money, and that they spend more than they would in a shop. However, 51% said they would be put off buying clothes online because of the ‘hassle’ of returning goods through the post. One big issue is around inconsistent sizes – 57% said they didn’t know what size to order – while other barriers include security concerns (30%). Some 22% have browsed online, without ever buying.

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