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While China's ecommerce credentials have been in the spotlight, those headlines are driven by sheer volumes. When it comes to digital buyer penetration, the UK remains top of the pile. According to eMarketer, 88.0% of UK internet users over the age of 14 will make at least one digital purchase in 2014—that figure in China will be 55.2%, while the closest competitor will be Denmark, with a penetration rate of 80.8%.
Consumers in the UK really do like to shop digitally, and among those that do, the most common purchase is likely to be clothing. July 2014 polling from management consultancy A.T. Kearney found that 85% of digital buyers in the UK had made a fashion and apparel purchase in the past three months. Indeed, more had bought from this category than any other.
It isn't just the digitally attuned UK consumer who's buying clothing online, though. An October 2014 study from Google and TNS found that half of all clothes shoppers more generally in the UK had bought either clothing or footwear via a digital channel in the past three months; a larger proportion than for all other European countries polled.
The most popular types of product or service that were purchased digitally came from outside retail—hotel (leisure) and car insurance polled higher at 79% and 57%, respectively, while home appliances purchased within the past year drew only a slightly higher proportion than clothing, at 53%.
Indications point to a growing desire among UK consumers to do their clothes shopping online. Research from Verdict Retail earlier this year indicated that digital will account for 16.1% of all clothing and footwear sales in the UK in 2014. That proportion will reach almost a quarter by 2019. Digital is going to get even more fashionable for clothes shoppers in the UK.
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