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European Clothing Merchandisers Adapt to Online Retail
Clothing is one of the largest segments of the B2C E-Commerce markets worldwide. It is in close rivalry with the consumer electronics category for first rank among product categories by share of online shoppers buying globally and tops it in many countries. Pure online, store-based mass merchants and clothing specialists compete for a share of this booming market.
Clothing has been the most purchased physical product in recent years in many countries across Western Europe, including the UK, Spain, Italy and others. In selected markets, such as Germany, it tops all other categories in terms of sales volume. Clothing was also the leading category in cross-border B2C E-Commerce in Western Europe in 2014, in line with the global trend.
Mobile and omnichannel strategies have become vitally important for both online and store-based retailers of apparel. While many consumers research clothing and footwear products online, they might eventually buy it online or offline. In Germany, for example, the majority of consumers say they use both online and offline shops to buy clothes and often compare prices between them. In the UK, click-and-collect has become a popular option in shopping for apparel and is actively used by store-based retailers to drive sales. Moreover, in a worldwide ranking, the UK followed the Asian countries by share of online shoppers who made their last purchase of clothing via mobile, as of early 2014.
The competition landscape features online pure-plays, store-based and multichannel retailers, clothing specialists, brands and mass merchants. German online clothing retailers Zalando and Bonprix were popular across several countries in Europe, among France-based La Redoute and UK-based Asos. European store-based retailers of apparel such as H&M, C&A, Marks & Spencer and Next were also popular among online shoppers in the UK and Germany.
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