Online fashion sales soar in February as shoppers dodge rain

Clothing and footwear sales rose by 7.3 per cent online in February compared to the month before as shoppers sheltered from the rain. According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail results, the growth helped increase online sales overall by 2.1 per cent on January – the biggest leap since July 2023. The overall value of online sales also climbed 2.2 per cent year-on-year.

Unfortunately, rising e-commerce sales contrasted with overall retail sales, which fell by -0.1 per cent against January 2024. Experts believe the ‘wettest February since records began’ kept shoppers indoors and away from physical stores.  

Earlier this month the British Retail Consortium’s Retail Sales Monitor revealed total UK retail sales increased by 1.1 per cent year-on-year in February against a growth of 5.2 per cent in February 2023.

“The rain certainly wasn’t going to stop people from buying the new spring clothing and footwear collections,” says ParcelHero’s David Jinks M.I.L.T. “The high Street saw a modest 1.7 per cent jump in clothing sales volumes, despite a very flat picture overall, but most people chose to do their fashion shopping online. A 7.3 per cent surge in the value of e-commerce clothing sales is an impressive result.

“We mustn’t forget that online clothing sales values actually plummeted by -15.1% in January against December’s pre-Christmas sales, so a resurgence was due. However, last month we warned fashion retailers to up their game in terms of sales offers, both online and in-store, and it looks like that has happened.

“February’s online fashion sales growth helped internet retailers to take 25.7 per cent of all retail sales in February, up from 25.1 per cent in January. There’s no doubt online sales have fallen back since the giddy height of the pandemic lockdowns. At its peak, in February 2021, e-commerce captured 37 per cent of all retail sales. That bubble was always going to pop. However, for more than a year, online sales have held firm at around 25-26 per cent of the overall market. That is the new normal for retailers and well above the 19 per cent that online was averaging pre-pandemic.”