Online fashion sales recover after March plunge

The impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce retailers of fashion, apparel and accessories globally seems to have subsided in April, with total sales revenue rebounding on average 21 per cent higher year-over-year; after a 30 per cent fall in March.

Visits are now up nine per cent on average compared to a year ago, with orders 30 per cent higher and the conversion rate rising by 12 per cent, according to analysis by Nosto.

The commerce experience platform's full dataset covers a period of 50 days across 271 merchants that represent a cross-section of the fashion, apparel and accessory industry. It suggested that the average order value (AOV) has gone down three per cent globally and appears to be staying at a lower level.

Over the whole period, the data showed that visits, orders and total sales globally started dropping noticeably around 7 March.

A significant drop was seen after 12 March, which bottomed out on 20 March for many, with sales revenue down 32 per cent year-on-year. At this low point, visits were down 24 per cent and AOV declined by six per cent, while conversion rate was down by nine per cent.

Going into April, visits, sales and orders have all eclipsed where they were at during the same time last year.

Matthew Levin, global head of marketing at Nosto, explained: “It could be that even with the closure of overall physical retail, there is enough consumer demand to continue to drive online sales - which would be a positive indicator for e-commerce overall.

"Alternatively, perhaps consumers are simply being lured into making fashion purchases now through heavy discounting by retailers who are fighting to keep the sales coming in, which is pushing down average order value - if so, this would be an unsustainable tactic over the longer term.”

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