The Washington Post recently reported on online shopping trends research done by ComScore and discovered a surprising bit of information: For the first time ever, clothing and accessories sales surpassed online computer hardware sales, the previous giant when it came to online commerce.
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The #1 selling item online right now
Despite clothing’s challenging year due to El Niño and other factors, it still outpaced computer hardware. Why is this?
For one thing, retailers have made it easier and less risky to buy and return items online, offering free shipping and free returns in most cases.
‘Return policies got much better a few years ago, and that has lowered the friction to people buying in the apparel category,’ said Andrew Lipsman, ComScore’s vice president of marketing and insights.
Another factor is how much research would go into buying a certain category of an item, related to shopping on smartphones.
Since shopping on smartphones has seen a huge increase, the easiest items to buy would be ones that did not require a lot of research.
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For example, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to buy a t-shirt online. But, for a category such as electronics, a lot more research goes into the purchase as it would be a higher ticket item with more complex features and considerations. According to the research done by ComScore, people are most likely to shop for an item such as a laptop on a desktop computer.
Other product categories that saw growth included video games and consoles, toys and hobbies, sports and fitness, jewelry and watches and event tickets.
But one thing is for sure: Electronics is no longer king of the hill when it comes to online shopping.
Mobile commerce continues to increase
Possibly the biggest factor contributing to the differences in online shopping may have to do with mobile. In 2015, mobile commerce experienced its biggest jump in activity yet, rising from 13% to 16.9%. Just four years ago, this percentage was nearly half, at 9% of people shopping online. Analysts believe this percentage is only going to increase as people become more accustomed to using their smartphones for everything from paying bills to ordering pizza.
Keep this in mind when you shop online
One final thought: When shopping online, be sure to choose a retailer that offers free returns, especially when it comes to clothing or shoes. This will ensure you don’t eat the shipping back to the retailer or get stuck with the item if it doesn’t fit or there is something wrong with the merchandise.