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2023 Global Ecommerce Report: Fashion and Apparel

2023 Fashion Report

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Trends come and go, but style lasts forever. Nobody understands this more than the fashion industry.

From a pantless trend during New York Fashion Week to donning the latest leather ensemble, keeping up with the latest can be exhausting, especially in the world of ecommerce, but it can also be quite lucrative.

According to Statista, the apparel and accessories industry is expected to eclipse $200 billion in ecommerce revenue in 2023 and is projected to bank more than $300 billion in 2027. 

Needless to say, it has been a meteoric rise for online fashion in recent years and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

BigCommerce brands saw strong growth during the holiday season last year. The latest numbers in 2023, especially in average order value, prove shoppers are still willing to spend on apparel and accessories. 

Our methodology for this report

BigCommerce’s fashion data is sourced directly from our customers. All data is global and pertains to all countries where BigCommerce customers do business, unless otherwise noted, and is specific to customers who have indicated they are in the fashion industry.

All comparisons year-over-year are congruent comparisons between the same number of existing stores dating back to the earliest period used in the comparison. For example, a comparison between H1 2022 and H1 2023 would use data only from BigCommerce stores that existed in H1 2022, unless otherwise noted.

Fashion’s strength during uncertain times

An economic downturn mixed with inflation is a tough combination to overcome. Even McKinsey analysts believed the fashion industry, excluding the luxury sector, would struggle to deliver significant growth in 2023.

But what does the fashion industry do? It adapts. And what has the fashion industry done so far this year on BigCommerce? It has grown.

GMV grew 7.3% in H1 2023 (January through June) compared to that six-month stretch in 2022, including 8.1% in AMER, 4% in EMEA, and 6% in APAC. 

Additionally, the average order value (AOV) increased by 8.3% globally.

Enterprise leading the charge.

Growth can come in all shapes and sizes. BigCommerce brands on our Enterprise plan have experienced an increase across the board.

Enterprise plan GMV rose 10.8% for fashion customers on BigCommerce, while orders increased nearly 3% and AOV increased 7.7% YoY compared to first half numbers in 2022.

These numbers are ahead of the peak holiday shopping season, too.

Global spend is on the rise.

While AMER, EMEA, and APAC all saw at least a 5% boost in GMV in H1 2023 compared to the same stretch in 2022, AOV is a big reason why.

The average order value from all three regions increased more than 8% YoY.

The BigCommerce platform is helping outfit some of the biggest fashion brands around the world. Find out more here.

No matter where people are, or what they are doing, fashion is at every turn. It’s in the workplace, at coffee shops, on social media, and everywhere in-between.

So while there is no escaping it, these are the trends making the biggest splashes.

Generative AI looks transformative.

Every once in a while, new technology emerges that can completely transform an entire industry. Generative AI could be exactly that for fashion and apparel in ecommerce.

Whether it’s a personalized customer journey or even a virtual fitting room, generative AI already has a sizable footprint in the digital fashion world and the impact is massive.

McKinsey predicts generative AI could add $150 billion to $275 billion in the fashion, apparel, and luxury sectors in the next three to five years.

This is yet more evidence that generative AI is likely here to stay.

UGC’s purchasing influence is strong.

User-generated content — commonly referred to as UGC — is certifying itself to be one of the greatest forms of social proof today. 

According to Stackla, 65% of consumers have purchased apparel or fashion items based on UGC from real customers.

Additionally, 54% of consumers report that UGC is the most influential content when making fashion purchasing decisions. 

It’s evident shoppers want to know if products are worth buying from real customers and everyday consumers when it comes to fashion.

Sustainable is not just a buzzword.

Currently valued at more than $6.5 billion, the sustainable fashion industry is showcasing legitimate growth that should be noted.

Add in the fact that 62% of Gen Z shoppers prefer to buy from sustainable brands and 73% are willing to pay more for sustainable products, according to First Insight, and it’s impossible to ignore the possible longevity and impact of sustainable fashion and apparel products.

So while this might not be the loudest trend, it’s something to keep tabs on.

The holiday season ahead

The holiday shopping season seemingly arrives earlier and earlier each year. In Q4 2022 — the longest holiday shopping season ever seen — BigCommerce saw a 17% increase in global fashion sales compared to Q4 2021.

While the success of this holiday season is yet to be determined, it’s going to be just as long and with an expectation of discounted products in 2023.

Roughly two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed by CNBC expect consumers to look for discounts and there’s a substantial concern (71%) that consumers will cut back holiday spending in response to inflation.

The former should not come as a surprise, though. After all, every true shopper loves a discount, and 57% of online shoppers using a coupon code said they wouldn’t have made a purchase without the discount. 

The latter could generate the biggest impact, if those predictions come true.

The next deal found is the greatest deal made, and retailers will have to navigate their promotions during this holiday season, perhaps more than ever.

The final word

The fashion industry accounts for roughly 23% of total online retail sales and it has experienced steady annual growth for the past 20 years.

Even during economic uncertainty, the industry never seems to go out of style.

The growth of BigCommerce brands in H1 2023 is further proof of its true consumer power in the past, at current, and in the future.