Sep 20, 2021
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Online boom driven by biggest names, ASOS and Boohoo major beneficiairies - report

Sep 20, 2021

2020’s online sales boomed and fashion was a major influence in driving them as revenues for the UK’s 20 biggest pureplay retailers jump 22% to a record £16.4bn.


Online fashion retailers increased their revenues by 14.2% to £6.9 billion in the past year, City law firm RPC found, sharing its findings based on Companies House data with City AM.

Boohoo reported sales of £1.7 billion in the year to 28 February 2021, up 41% on the previous year, while ASOS sales grew 19% to £3.2 billion. The Hut Group, which owns a range of fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, enjoyed a 41.5% rise in turnover to £1.6 billion.

The growth was driven by strong demand for casualwear and athleisure during the early stages of lockdown, and occasionwear when restrictions started to ease last summer, the report noted.

While the online sector has been helped tremendously by the tailwinds provided by the lockdown, the e-commerce companies have also benefited by its willingness to invest heavily in marketing... to help deliver growth,” said Jeremy Drew, co-head of retail at RPC.

For example, online retailers have been investing heavily in tools such as augmented reality to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. During lockdown ASOS unveiled an augmented reality tool on its website which digitally fitted clothes onto models to show how they could look in real time.

“There’s no doubt the pandemic has accelerated the growth of online retail. However, e-retailers still deserve plaudits for capitalising on that sudden shift by dramatically adding to capacity,” Drew also told City AM.

Another way online retailers have been able to drive sales is through more effective investment in their social media presence than some of their high street rivals.

Online retailers have typically been quicker to partner with influencers than some of the more traditional retailers. Drew said this has enabled them to generate a higher level of engagement on social media and better sales growth among a younger demographic.

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