Clothing and Accessories Emerged as The Biggest Category in E-Commerce, Outpacing Computer Hardware Sector

By Staff Writer

Apr 07, 2016 10:09 AM EDT

A recent report shows that fashion apparel and accessories have the biggest share in online shopping, especially in the U.S. The results mapped that people spend more money online to buy clothing and accessories rather than computer hardwares including tablets, personal computers and laptops in 2015.

The Washington Post cited a report from online metrics firm comScore, revealing how the clothing and accessories category has overpower the computer hardware category, which as been leading the e-commerce market share for at least a decade. Meanwhile, other sectors have not seen significant change in online shopping.

In 2015, clothing and accessories pulled down the most dollars in three out of four quarters. Overall, the clothing and accessories category generated $51.5 billion in online sales. The number is slightly higher than $ 51.1 billion made in the computer hardware category that includes personal computers and tablets.

The sales in e-commerce of both the categories grew significantly over the years. However, as noted by The Wall Street Journal, the clothing and accessories category saw a greater increase of up to 19 percent compared to 2014. On the other hand, online shopping spending on the computer hardware category rose only 5.3 percent since 2014.

The rise in e-commerce spending for clothes and accessories could be attributed to some factors, such as more free shipping options and the rise of mobile shopping itself. A senior analyst for comScore, Adam Lella, also noted that people are becoming more comfortable making small purchases online.

People are sometimes reluctant to make small purchases online because of the shipping costs. However, the recent trend shows that more e-commerce are offering free shipping compared to previous years. Free returns policy are also contributing to buyers' decision to shop online for small products such as clothing and accessories.

Consequently, the offline stores sales of clothing and accessories might be slowing down. According to Consumerist, department stores and fashion retailers have complained about their sales in the Q4 of 2015. The retailers attributed the weak sales to the good weather, making customers comfortable enough to not come to stores and buy winter clothes. During that quarter, online sales of clothing and accessories outpaced computers by $1 billion.

Changes in the e-commerce landscape and policies, as well as in buyers' lifestyle has led clothing and accessories sector as the largest category in online shopping last year. The category outsold the computer hardware category, which has been e-commerce's largest category for years. The results suggest that people are getting more comfortable to make small purchases online than ever before. 

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