Here at B-Stock, we keep a close look at apparel and online sales. We know that the more consumers purchase online, the more returns are going to happen (which ultimately means more available inventory for the secondary retail market). In 2017, online apparel sales accounted for 27.4% of overall U.S. apparel sales; this is up from 23.5% in 2016 and 20.7% in 2015 (according to the most recent Internet Retailer Online Apparel Report).
Many consumers say they like buying apparel online. According to a PYMNTS.com survey, 43.2% of respondents said they prefer to shop for clothing in stores, while 26.9% prefer to shop only online, and 29.9% said they prefer to shop both. Still other research has found that more shoppers want to “try before they buy” clothing online. We’ve seen the popularity of programs like Stitch Fix take off; even Amazon is hopping on the bandwagon with its Prime Wardrobe.
All of this online shopping and trying-before-buying is shrinking profit margins due to logistics expenses (especially when it comes to TBYB). We’ve written about this trend on our blog and will continue to keep a close eye on developments.
Meanwhile, the value of retail returns last year rose 53% from 2015 to $400 billion, and the growth of e-commerce is stoking that. Returns of brick-and-mortar purchases tend to hover at 8%, while e-commerce returns can reach as high as 15% to 30%, according to CBRE, which says that likely value of online holiday returns is $32 billion, up from 2016’s estimated $28 billion.
If you’re an ecommerce retailer selling apparel or using a Try Before You Buy Business Model, get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you make more money for your returned merchandise that can’t go back on shelves or into the rotation.