Overseas vs local: Online stores battle for men’s fashion industry

By Mary Ward ·

Australians are more likely to buy from local retailers when shopping online, but the local men’s fashion industry is struggling to retain consumers.

Despite concerns that the online marketplace would send money away from Australian retailers, recent research from Roy Morgan has shown that 64% of Australians buy local when shopping over the Internet, while 39% purchased from overseas retailers.

Consumers were more likely to buy women’s clothing from local online retailers than turn to overseas stores, with 545,000 Australians purchasing locally compared to 369,000 buying from overseas outlets such as ASOS.

However, while local retailers are still ahead in the men’s clothing sector (277,000 purchases throughout September), online retailers (with 229,000 purchases) are not far behind.

Geoffrey Smith from Roy Morgan Research said that while retailers were originally worried that the local women’s fashion industry would be threatened by online shopping, it could be the men’s fashion industry that is in trouble.

“In the midst of all this focus on women’s fashion, it looks like the new fashion battleground may be for men’s clothing,” he said.

“With a higher ranking on the overseas online stores’ list and nearly as many customers, it could be the category that local retailers need to watch.”

Only six out of the 51 product categories examined were more commonly purchased from overseas websites. They were: video games and consoles, ebooks, books, jewellery and watches, TV show downloads and fashion accessories.

As for local purchases, the top-selling products are movie and event tickets (purchased by 830,000 Australians during September 2014), travel items such as accommodation (purchased by 785,000) and fast food and meals (purchased by 569,000).

Demand for online retailers has remained strong, with 38% of Australians making an online purchase during September 2014.