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Amazon Overtakes Walmart as Most-Shopped Apparel Retailer, as Prime Drives Spending

More people are shopping the “everything store” for their apparel needs and Amazon can thank its money-printing Prime program for that.

According to a new Coresight Research survey, Amazon overtook Walmart as the most-shopped retailer for apparel, as the study found Amazon is the beneficiary from the growing number of people shifting their wardrobe spending away from the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain. Coresight cautioned that its findings don’t reflect sales but rather number of shoppers. More than half (54 percent) of people taking the survey bought clothing or shoes on Amazon in the past year, 7 percent more than those who purchased from Walmart. Target, in third place, was the apparel destination for 41 percent of respondents.

Seventy-four percent of people with a Prime membership said they’ve purchased apparel on Amazon over the past year, and 61 percent of everyone surveyed has turned to Amazon for their clothing and footwear needs in the same timeframe. That’s a notable jump from the inaugural study in 2018, in which less than half of shoppers surveyed said they’d made an apparel purchase on the popular e-commerce site. As growth in Prime memberships slows, Coresight believes Amazon will have to try new tricks to keep valuable members spending in this category.

The percentage of people planning to buy apparel from Amazon is climbing and those who shop at Old Navy, T.J. Maxx, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target and J.C. Penney are more likely than average to say they expect some of their apparel purchases will happen on Amazon in the year ahead.

When it comes to its status as a destination for fashion shopping, Amazon is working its way into consumers’ hearts. Now, a quarter of those surveyed by Coresight say it’s one of their favorite places to go for clothing and shoes, up from roughly 20 percent last year.

Amazon’s work on its fashion and private-label apparel offerings shows signs of paying off. Based on the survey, apparel has jumped three places to become the category that most people purchase on the e-comm site, ahead of books, beauty and electronics.

The youngest shoppers are the most likely to want Amazon to open brick-and-mortar stores devoted to fashion. Fifteen percent of 18- to 29-year-olds expressed interest in physical outposts for Amazon apparel, the highest of any age range. This young group of shoppers also wants to try Amazon private labels (23 percent) and see more fashion brands offered on its e-commerce site (25 percent).

After Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, Amazon’s private-label brands are the most purchased in the clothing and footwear category. Consumers show growing awareness of these in-house brands exclusive to Amazon; 17 percent said they’ve purchased an owned brand, up from 11 percent in 2018, and 7 percent say these Amazon-developed labels are what compelled them to shop, up from less than 3 percent last year. Another 20 percent are open to trying an Amazon-owned brand.

Industry pundits might say there’s little love for the middle of the market in retail these days, but Coresight’s study is finding rather the opposite. Based on their average age and income level, Amazon’s typical shopper is the mid-market consumer who’s on par with those shopping at Target, Macy’s, J. C. Penney and T.J. Maxx.

Shoppers disagree with the widely circulated notion that Amazon’s website is more functional than fashion-friendly. Asked if they thought Amazon.com could be enhanced to attract people shopping for fashion, just 16 percent agreed, signaling that the majority are content with the current browsing and buying experience as is. Most think browsing for fashion on Amazon is easy enough, as a mere 13 percent feel there’s room for improvement in this arena. Of course, Amazon sells mostly mass-market clothing and it stands to reason that mass-market shoppers aren’t looking for all the bells and whistles. To lure high-end brands, the retailer might need to invest in a premium website redesign.

Consumers, in general, are paying more attention to sustainability in fashion but interest among Amazon apparel shoppers remains low, Coresight found. The survey wanted to uncover just how much shoppers who purchase from a dozen retailers care about eco-friendly initiatives, and only Walmart shoppers showed lower interest than Amazon customers in purchasing from brands and retailers with a positive environmental track record.

For its “Amazon Apparel: Annual US Survey Reveals Amazon Has Overtaken Walmart as America’s Most- Shopped Retailer for Apparel” study, Coresight polled 1,732 people over the age of 18, 94 percent of whom had purchased clothing or shoes online in the previous 12 months.

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