Online sales of clothing, footwear and accessories rose 16% last month and 23% year-on-year, making fashion the best performing etail category behind only beauty products, despite tough trading on the high street.
Within that accessories sold especially well, up 59% on March 2010, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Lingerie sales grew 18% whilst footwear sales grew by a more modest 3%.
IMRG director of information Tim Spooner said: “The Index confirms that online continues to be the beacon for the UK retail market during these tough economic conditions.”
Overall, etailers achieved their strongest quarter in three years in the first three months of 2011, with year-on-year growth surging 18% and turnover rising 14% to £5.1bn - the equivalent of £82 a person.
Some 70% of retailers expected etail sales to remain healthy for the rest of the year, but the gap between multi-channel and pureplay retailers widened in March. Businesses with both a high-street and online presence grew year on year sales by an average of 19%, whilst pureplay operators grew by just 6%.
Commenting on the trend, John Lewis head of online selling Jonathan Brown said that overall traffic grew at a slightly slower rate than in previous months but that customers who visited Johnlewis.com were converting at a higher rate and were spending more.