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Sales of Apparel Online Leap Forward in Week

NEW YORK — Online purchasing of apparel by consumers last week tallied $193 million, a 66 percent surge over sales a week earlier, and a 40 percent hop over business during the week ended Nov. 15.<br><br>That was the word Tuesday from Internet...

NEW YORK — Online purchasing of apparel by consumers last week tallied $193 million, a 66 percent surge over sales a week earlier, and a 40 percent hop over business during the week ended Nov. 15.

That was the word Tuesday from Internet measurement agency comScore Media Metrix, which said apparel transactions marked the second-biggest percentage gains online, in nontravel-dollar volume, for the the week, as well as the four weeks ended Nov. 22. E-tail apparel business for the four weeks ran up 49 percent to $639 million from sales of $429 million in the prior-year period.

“While sales of apparel online were strong last week, it’s important to remember that the comparable week last year was Thanksgiving week — which typically is slower — so that must be factored in to explaining the 66 percent [weekly] change,” noted comScore analyst Max A. Kalehoff. “We’ll likely see an opposite effect with the next [weekly] data installment.”

Growth rates of apparel volume on the ’Net trailed only that of home and garden goods, among the four largest nontravel e-tail sectors. Online sales of home and garden products ballooned 146 percent for the week and 110 percent for the four weeks ended Nov. 22. Among the other three largest nontravel e-tail sectors, sales of books advanced 31 percent for the week, but fell 3 percent for the four-week period; consumer electronics business expanded 25 percent for the week and 15 percent for the four weeks, and computer hardware volume eased 1 percent for the week and 2 percent for the four weeks.

ComScore obtains its sales data by monitoring the buying activity of a representative sample of 1.5 million ’Net users. This month, approximately 9.2 million surfers are buying online, up 36 percent from last year. Categories experiencing the strongest increases in purchasers include apparel, up 70 percent; flowers and gifts, up 103 percent; consumer electronics, up 92 percent; movies and video, up 68 percent, and toys, up 37 percent.

Apparel, accessories and footwear sites with the biggest traffic increases for the week ended Nov. 10, versus the prior three weeks, include payless.com, gaining 47 percent to 372,000 visitors; alloy.com, adding 35 percent to 441,000 users, and newport-news.com, rising 26 percent to 384,000, comScore reported. The sharpest falls were taken by bananarepublic.com, off 27 percent, to 152,000 visitors, and nike.com, down 18 percent to 716,000.

Looking ahead, Kalehoff projected that the offline world’s Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving, so named by retailers for its profitable impact — will lead to what comScore calls Black Monday, when ’Net users generally return to their workplace PCs after the Thanksgiving weekend and log on to make purchases, among other things. According to comScore’s research, more than half of online sales are transacted at people’s workplaces.