IMRG, the leading industry body for global e-Retailing has been keeping an eye on e-business figures for quite some time now. For instance year 2000 figures from IMRG indicate that online revenues for fashion goods grew at 30 percent, while in 2005 an estimated 24 million people spent over 1.6 billion online in 2005. According to e-bay, the pioneering e-retailing site on the net, a piece of clothing sells every 7seconds on their site (Morrell, 2006) and Topshop's website is believed to be its second largest outlet after its oxford street flag shop store (Dudley, 2005). This goes on to show that e-retailing for fashion products is becoming a 'fashion trend' now, having been identified as the fastest growing online sector in the UK presenting 9 per cent of all online British retailing (Ashworth et al). In 2004, retail fashion market in the UK amounted to 37 billion in (Mintel) whereas the total value for the book retail market in the same year was a mere 3.62billion (Mintel). This is indeed quite an encouraging sign for the fashion industry. Internet also allows live conferencing and academic exchange amongst the designers and fashion retailer. Such interactive session also help in breeding interest amongst more buyers and sellers. Issues now being discussed include relating to consumer behaviour, enhancing the displays, academic exchanges. Such discussion help in persuading the average consumer to go for online clothing purchase (Kim) and examinations of cross channel shopping behaviour involving fashion purchases via the catalogue and online (Lu). Some such work is also focused upon the components of fashion web consumer perceptions of these (Kim).
There are in general four categories of fashion retailers (Jang and burns, 2004) namely;
Bricks and mortar retailers: Traditional fashion houses, fashion stores in the busy market place or in a shopping mall.
Virtual e-tailers: These are the virtual fashion apparel stores on the net, offering a range of cloths and fashion accessories to the consumer. In fact, on account of the growing popularity, these types of stores are now being called click-n-mortar retailers.
Catalogue companies: These are the companies who have expanded their operations to include online retailing as well.
Multi channel retailers: These retailers using both catalogues as well as online stores for selling their products.
M & B (2004) further classify online fashion retailers on the basis of production range and market positioning. They arrived at this classification on the basis of a survey undertaken in 2003 amongst the fashion designer retailers (like Paul Smith), product specialists or niche retailers (like maternity wear), general merchandise retailer selling fashion-wear (e.g. House of Fraser) and some other general fashion retailers. What was evident from this survey was that almost everybody wanted to ignite the passion for purchases through online retailing, regardless of their product focus or market positioning. The survey also identified the websites which used to facilitate transactions online. Product specialists were the best represented, which goes on to support the hypotheses that it is easier to for such specialists to generate traffic to their online stores (2002). It is worthwhile here to mention that, though the product specialis