Fashion E-Commerce Sales Are Rebounding as Consumers Adjust to New Normal

The fashion industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic — but online fashion spend appeared to show some signs of rebound in April after getting off to a slow start in March.

According to a Nosto report released on April 28, online fashion visits, sales and orders are up “significantly” year-over-year. Compared with the same period in 2019, online sales for fashion are up by double digits in April and March across all of the major markets Nosto looked at — including the U.S., the U.K. France, Germany and Australia/New Zealand — except for Sweden.

Nosto, fashion e-commerce
CREDIT: Courtesy

Conversion rate in March and April was also up across all regions, with the U.S. France, Germany and Australia/New Zealand seeing double digit gains in the percentage of fashion e-commerce site visitors placing orders. However, this isn’t necessarily all positive news for retailers, as Nosto says the heightened conversation rates could be because of “heavy discounting driving conversion in most markets.”

Further, according to Nosto, average order value has trended downward in March and April of 2020 versus the comparable period of 2019. All regions have seen a shrinkage of between 3% and 7%, which Nosto attributes to “a combination of ongoing aggressive discounting and spending less due to economic uncertainty.”

Additionally, while fashion e-commerce sales rose in April, those gains come as brick-and-mortar stores across the U.S. and much of Europe remain shut. With doors closed, fashion retailers such as Nordstrom and Macy’s have lost substantial revenue, and they’ve made a number of decisions aimed at cutting costs, including furloughing staff, reducing executive pay and tapping into revolving credit lines.

With respect to shoe sales specifically, the pandemic has caused significant declines there, too. According to The NPD Group analyst Beth Goldstein, fashion footwear sales tumbled during the first quarter of 2020, with sandal sales declining by over 30% for Q1 and double that in March. The only fashion category that showed growth was slippers.

To compile its report, Nosto looked at data from 57 days across 271 merchants “that represent a good cross-section of the fashion, apparel and accessory industry.” The firm compared data from Sunday, March 1, 2020 to Monday, April 27, 2020 with data from Sunday, March 3, 2019 to Monday, April 29, 2019.

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