Online sales of clothing increased by 3.7% in March – marking the sector’s fifth consecutive month of single-digit growth.
This is a result of a combination of supply outweighing demand, continued discounting and customers being cautious with spending, said IMRG Capgemini.
It contrasts a “strong” performance in footwear, where sales rose by 16.7%, and in health and beauty where sales were up 15.6%.
For the three months to 31 March, clothing sales grew by 2.6%, compared with 13.9% growth for the same period last year.
The latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index showed that although overall online retail sales increased 5% year on year, such “low” monthly growth is below the three-, six- and 12-month averages of +7.5%, +7.1% and +10.2% respectively.
It also revealed that online-only retailers fared marginally better than multichannel retailers (+8.9% versus +5%).
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement at Capgemini, said: “The overall position of clothing is concerning, which continued its five-month run of single digit growth. Many of the larger, often reliably robust, retailers also recorded low single-digit growth.
“Closing out the first quarter of 2019, clothing now stands at 2.6% growth, which is significantly lower than last year’s 13.9% growth.”