Nearly Half of UK Fashion Shoppers Prefer Online Over High Street

If it wasn’t apparent already, recent data from the UK reinforces the fact that fashion shopping is increasingly becoming the domain of online retail. GSI Commerce (now owned by eBay) commissioned a survey of 2000 UK adult consumers (granted, the survey was online indicating a skew toward that behaviour) showing a rising preference for online apparel shopping.

Key findings from the report indicated that:

– 45% prefer to shop for fashion over the internet rather than in-store
– 27% said they preferred shopping online because of the choice, 10% because delivery options are broader and 7% because features, service and product information available on a web site is better than in-store
– 42% would like to see more online kiosks in-store
– 64% would window shop via a retailer’s website before going in-store
– 71% of women window shopped online before buying offline, but only 52% of men did likewise
– 56% cited being able to filter searches as their favourite  web shopping feature
– Only 3% cited social sharing as an important feature of the online shopping experience (even more interesting considering all the survey respondents were opt-in online survey members)


Filtering was a favourite feature with online fashion shoppers, while social sharing ranked poorly


“This report is very reflective of the trends we’re seeing with our online fashion clients in Australia,” says Mark Brixton, Country Manager, SLI-Systems. “Smart merchandising, quality product features and advances in site search are making the online fashion shopping experience closer to – and now often surpassing – the traditional retail experience.

Surfstitch, for example, has invested in optimising its site search and merchandising capabilities to great effect, including a new rich auto-complete feature that suggests products visually via a drop-down menu, along with promotions. The sophistication now being applied to online apparel retailing has taken the customer experience to new levels, and shoppers are voting more and more to take their custom into cyberspace.”

Also interesting was the data showing that shopping on both online and high street was still by far the preferred option, a significant percentage of respondents prefer the online channel for their shopping. The survey also indicated that the rush to social media and mobile is misguided, with 90% of respondents saying they had not interacted with any fashion retailer’s Facebook, Twitter or mobile site.

5 thoughts on “Nearly Half of UK Fashion Shoppers Prefer Online Over High Street

  1. Pretty amazing numbers that almost half of consumers prefer to shop online. As more and more people acquire computers, more people will have access to the online retail sector. Geography also plays into these numbers – people that live in rural area’s have to shop online, the selection of fashion boutiques is limited. My only long term concern would be – what impact will this have on the brick and mortar stores? I would image that they would go out of business. Here in the States, stores are slowly disappearing or at least reducing the amount of shops. This creates other sets of problems with a higher rate of unemployment, eventually less spending online. My point is everything is interconnected and relies on the other to survive. Great article. Thanks

  2. Interested to see how people self-rate against what drives their online purchases (filtering vs social sharing). Would like to see how this compares to what actually drives online purchases (and of course there are plenty of organisations out there measuring this!).

    If bricks + mortar stores want to survive, they need to offer something that people can’t get online – not just products but in customer experience. If my “in-store” shopping experience is rude staff and a messy store, I’d rather go online. If it’s something more enjoyable then I’m happy to do high street retail.

  3. Hi Grant, I just thought i’d let you know that this report has moved, so your link is broken! The report can now be found here:

    Hope that this helps, by the way will you be publishing the new report next month?


    1. Thanks Isaac, have fixed that in the article now. Will be keeping an eye out for the next one too.


  4. You hit the nail on the head my friend! Some people just don’t get it!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

PowerRetail Extra Enewsletter