NEW YORK — Apparel and accessories are stars in cyberspace this holiday and have already surpassed their online sales during holiday 2001 — in last week’s receipts alone.
Cyber sales of apparel and accessories for the week ended Dec. 13 soared 39 percent over a year ago, totaling $1.3 billion and outpacing the broader 37 percent growth in online sales to consumers, which totaled $2.2 billion — a weekly record on the Internet, according to online ratings agency comScore Networks. The weekly apparel and accessories results outstripped the sector’s sales for November and December 2001, which tallied $1.27 billion.
“We’re likely to see strong sales of apparel and accessories online up to the final days, in part, because of the closer online-offline ties,” comScore analyst Max A. Kalehoff projected. “More people are ordering items online and picking them up at stores near their homes.”
Apparel and accessories were the seventh fastest-growing, nontravel e-commerce category last week, when they accounted for 59 percent of such consumer purchases, comScore reported. Home and garden continued to pace nontravel growth rates online, as the sector’s sales for the week surged 79 percent above year-ago levels to $458 million. Next were jewelry and watches, rising 73 percent to weekly volume of $173 million; furniture and appliances, climbing 71 percent, to $146 million, and toys, up 69 percent, to $348 million.
The growing share of women online — now roughly 60 percent — and increases in minority users are spurring e-tail sales of apparel. For example, four apparel and footwear e-commerce sites were among the 15 Internet destinations most popular with African-Americans in October, or those where African-Americans made up at least 15 percent of the sites’ users, according to comScore. They were Eastbay, ranking seventh and attracting 229,000 African-Americans; Nike, eighth, with 228,000; Newport News, 14th, drawing 140,000, and FootLocker, 15th, with 115,000. In contrast, accessories and luxury sites, among 15 online sectors, lured the second-smallest share of African-Americans in October, or 5.5 percent of those sites’ visitors, totaling 456,000 people. Career sites drew the biggest share of African-Americans, or 6.3 percent of users; followed by music sites, 6.2 percent, and chat rooms, 6.1 percent.
This story first appeared in the December 19, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.