Shopping Online: More Revenue From Clothes And Shoes Than Computers

Consumers are buying more clothes, shoes, handbags and whatnot online than computers these days, a sign that online retailing has finally arrived. From the NYT:

In 2006, revenue from skirts, suits and shoes reached $18.3 billion, surpassing that from PCs, printers and word-processing programs, which totaled $17.2 billion, according to a report to be released today by a major trade group.

The surging popularity of clothing on the Web defies predictions that fashion — which is hard enough to buy in stores, with the aid of sales clerks and fitting rooms — would be difficult, if not impossible, to translate onto the Internet.

We buy lots of our clothes on the internet, particularly if we already know our size in a particular brand. No lines! —MEGHANN MARCO

Less Risk Seen in Purchasing Clothes Online [NYT]


Edit Your Comment

  1. TechnoDestructo says:

    I can’t fathom ordering anything other than a T-shirt online. God, I have enough trouble finding clothes that fit in person.

  2. mantari says:

    Shoes! I can’t imagine buying shoes online! The only person who I knew that bought shoes online was a manager back around 1999. We know this because his shoes arrived after he was fired.

  3. I bought four dress shirts off of an online retailer for 40 bux. Awesome. Izod and all that. Good times for online retail.

  4. Juliekins says:

    I loathe shopping for clothing and shoes in stores. I either can’t get help or I get some pushy sales clerk trying to upsell me on everything. Plus, I can always find better deals online.

    With free overnight shipping and free return shipping, Zappos is my go-to place for shoes. They also do price matching. I’ve bought and returned plenty of shoes there and never ever had an issue.

  5. TSS says:

    I love Zappos and I’ve purchased many pairs of shoes from them. I stick with brands I know like my favorite running shoes, and I’ve never had to send any pairs back. But if the shoes don’t work, returns are painless because they give you free return shipping. Right now they’re even offering free overnight shipping. What’s not to love?

  6. Brie says:

    People still buy word-processing programs online?

  7. The HZA. says:

    Zappos is amazing. I ordered a pair of shoes because of the free overnight shipping. And it said the cut off time was 1 pm. And I ordered shoes at about 8 pm and figured well, who cares they will still be here quick enough. And they were on my front step the next afternoon at 2. And when I called to ask a question they were super nice. You can’t hate a company that has the weather and joke of the day on their automated telephone menu.

  8. LAGirl says:

    the trick is to find exactly what you want in a store. get all the details: size, color, style #. then go home and find it online for less money. a great place to do this is ebay. you can almost always find it brand new, with tags for 1/2 price. usually there is no tax. and if you use PayPal (which i always do, for buying + selling) and you have any problem, you can file a complaint to resolve the issue. the trick is to buy from established sellers, with very good feedback. just check their return policy before you bid. since a lot of reputable sellers want repeat business, most of them have a fair return policy.

    there are also a lot of great sites that offer amazing discounts. for example, there is a site based out of Hawaii,, that has lots of designer clothes with incredible discounts. i happen to love me some fancy jeans. have found $200 jeans for $70, $80. also good to try amazon, bluefly or even + if you sign up on the individual websites for mailings, you’ll get lots of coupons for 10%, 20%, 30% off. you usually don’t pay any tax, and can get free, or super cheap shipping. a lot of these sites have really easy return policies too. it’s a win-win.

  9. Snakeophelia says:

    Zappos is the best because:

    (1) I often get shoe urges late at night or early in the morning before stores open. Zappos not only has a great selection but a relatively smart search function and categories.
    (2) There aren’t any great shoe stores near me that don’t require a hike through traffic, paying for parking, or both.
    (3) Free and easy returns.
    (4) Their customer service reps are the bomb. In March I ordered a pair of shoes for a business trip, and the first time I put them on, the straps broke. I called Zappos and told them what happened, and asked if they could please just send me a replacement pair ASAP at no charge, and I’d mail the defective pair back? Not a problem.
    (5) Shoes come with customer reviews that are usually quite helpful (I have wide feet, so am always on guard against shoes that feel tighter than expected).

    I’ve done a LOT of shopping online for clothing and shoes, and I would say that Zappos wins in every department (price, selection, promptness, ease of order, ease of return, and nice CSRs).

  10. etinterrapax says:

    Love Zappos. I especially like that there are customer reviews about fit–I need to know about shoes that skew wide. I’ve had no trouble with returns, either, and their shipping is second to none. If all internet retailers were like Zappos, this site would blink out from starvation.

    I buy clothes online, too. In-store returns make it easy, as does sticking with one well-known brand.

  11. quantum-shaman says:

    @Snakeophelia: Shoe urges late at night? Pretty funny! And healthier than Ben & Jerry’s. Haven’t tried Zappo’s yet but it’s nice to see the glowing reviews. I get strange late-night urges for books. For that there’s always Amazon, but even better is

  12. Youthier says:

    Zappos is amazing. And to all who can’t imagine buying clothes online, I would guess you don’t live in a town with just a disgusting Walmart, a Target and Old Navy. Internet clothes shopping is wonderful!

  13. chipslave says:

    I agree with whats being said about Zappos here. I called to do a price guarantee and the CSR I talked to was very helpful and even sent me a handwritten letter welcoming me to Zappos.

    I will be sure to check them out again!

  14. balagon says:

    Old model shoe shopping: Finding nothing at DSW, go to mall. Find parking. Visit 5 different shoe stores, looking for shoes to match dressy black and white outfit. Find one possibility, but store is out of my size. Drive to another mall, find parking, battle crowds, visit 6 shoe stores, find two possibilities, buy both, take them home for comparison, decide, drive back to mall to return runner-up. Total time commitment: 4-5 hours. Frustration level: high. Convenience factor: low

    New model shoe shopping: go to zappos. Search on shoes matching my criteria. Find 6 possibles. Order them all. Try them on at home. Put runners-up back in box, attach return label, drop off at big box office supplies store for shipping. Total time commitment: 1.5 hours. Frustration level: low. Convenience factor: high

    Same deal if teenaged daughter needs new dress shoes, or if I’m looking for the best possible price for a pair of good walking sandals. And for clothing, if I find a clothing style I like, I can search on that manufacturer and find other similar things at teeny tiny internet storefronts.

  15. SexCpotatoes says:

    Duh, one browses the internet on a computer… when it breaks, you buy parts to fix, or replace it entirely. It’s not like a shirt, or pair of pants, or shoes… ah, today, she is ah wednesday, I shall use the Toshiba today! Tomorrow, I may feel like the Alienware, or the HTPC.

  16. KopyKat says:

    Zappos is awesome. You can search by whatever combo of size, color and heel height you want, the reviews are helpful, and best of all free delivery and returns. I just ordered a pair of shoes on Friday afternoon, they arrived on Monday. They didn’t fit at all, so I picked another style, ordered those and they arrived on Tuesday. Size wasn’t right so I ordered a different size that just arrived today. All told I went through 2 reorders and still had my shoe need satisfied in 5 days total.

    The best part? I did it all from the comfort of my office and didn’t have to schlep around town to different stores.

  17. Now I know where to buy shoes. Sweet. I havent even been to the website but after reading all the comments I am ready to spend money on shoes at Zappos that I dont even need. Way to go consumerists! ;)