The Perfect Match: How Mobile Technology Transformed Fashion eCommerce Into a $1 Trillion Industry

The Perfect Match: How Mobile Technology Transformed Fashion eCommerce Into a $1 Trillion Industry

Does anyone remember when Nokia released the 3310 in 2000?


Surely you remember the good old days when we spent half an hour playing Snake, our parents yelling at us about being addicted to the phone.

Ah, simpler times.

Fast forward to 2018 and you can’t walk down the street without seeing a middle-age dad posing for a selfie or taking a ‘candid shot’ in front of a graffitied wall on his iPhone.

Feeling a little peckish? No need to worry when you can have dumplings, fried chicken, a full-blown Italian meal or all three delivered straight to your door within half an hour.

Through the likes of UberEats and Deliveroo installed on your phone, it’s never been easier to fail a diet.

Or you want to Netflix (perhaps, leave out the chill) while traveling but don’t have a television or laptop. Thanks to your phone, you don’t have to wait to stream the latest episode of Power until you return home.

Maybe you forgot to buy your friend a birthday present, or yourself a new outfit for the ensuing party…

All good!

You can just find the perfect outfit on your phone during your lunch break (let’s be honest, while you’re at your desk, distracting yourself from doing your actual job).

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Returns Fashion & Apparel eCommerce is set to explode to $1 Trillion in revenue by 2022. Stay up-to-date with the latest digital marketing trends with the 2018/19  Fashion & Apparel eCommerce Digital Marketing - Industry Report!

An Explosion in eCommerce Revenue

People are obsessed with their smartphones.

On average, we spend 10 hours a day connected to an internet-enabled device… yep, 10 whole hours.

And with them, we shop online.

Which is why revenue generated through e-commerce & fashion e-commerce in Australia and globally is HUGE.

How huge?

Revenue in the eCommerce market amounted to almost $724B AUD in 2018.  

Nowadays, consumers are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping options.  It’s certainly more convenient to shop via your phone than it is to rush to a store after work.

The beauty of fashion e-commerce?

Shop whenever, wherever you are, without having to lift a finger… a little swipe or tap is sufficient. A few days later (or the next day via Express Post) and you’ll feel like a kid at Christmas when you receive your parcel.

Trust us, it happens regularly in the Impressive office. The Iconic this, ASOS that…

According to Statista, the annual growth rate of eCommerce will rise to 11%.

Specifically, clothing makes up 66% of all fashion eCommerce across the globe. That’s a hell of a lot of jumpers…

Ecommerce Clothing Revenue Chart Image


In fact, the fashion eCommerce industry, from clothing and apparel to accessories and footwear, will explode to almost a trillion dollars (AUD) by 2022.

Looks like the big bucks are going to get a whole lot bigger.

Okay, so, I’ve made my point clear. The fashion e-commerce industry is worth more than the Royal Family.

I get it. You get it. Everyone gets it.

But why exactly?

Why has the advance in mobile technology made such a difference?

Sure, mobile technology makes purchases easier and demands less time, meaning we can shop more.

But, the amount of time people actually spend on their mobile phones has increased, dramatically.

Like we said, people spend more time on their phones—on average 10 hours a day. We’ve all had that dreaded moment when we’ve realised we’ve left our phones at home, and we’ve all cursed ourselves while agreeing to pay another $10 for an extra 1gb of data.

The mobile phone addiction is oh too real in 2018, and the more time we spend on our phones, the more opportunities there are for us to be targeted by brands.

While scrolling through Facebook, you’ll see the sneakers you looked at the day before, displayed proudly on your phone screen.

Temptation, we’re afraid, is everywhere.

Terrible for our bank balances, great for our wardrobes, and even better for the fashion eCommerce industry.

Word of mouth has always been a powerful way of generating sales, and today, word of mouth doesn’t necessarily happen face to face. Instagram influencers exert huge power when it comes to reaching new audiences, driving followers to act and buy.

In terms of the consumer shopping patterns, social media changed the way people shop.

Take this Fashionnova ad for example:

Isabelle Mathers FashionNova Ad Image

Isabelle Mathers is an Australian model and Instagram influencer, paid directly by brands to promote products.

Have we seen this bodysuit on a fashion eCommerce website before? Probably.

Were we going to buy it before we saw how good it looked on one of the hottest, ‘it’ girls in Australia? No.

Are we on our way to Fashionnova now? Certainly!

Instead of consumers purchasing trends endorsed by A-List celebs, 30% of consumers are likelier to buy based on non-celebrity influencer recommendation, with Facebook and Instagram leading the way as the top platforms for influencer marketing.

Additionally, 19% of consumer decisions are made after seeing a Facebook post - chances are, even if you’re scrolling through your Newsfeed, you’re likely to find yourself on the way towards a purchase.

From Facebook’s augmented reality ads to retargeting ads that seem to find us every time we search online, the opportunities to advertise are endless.

Global Mobile Penetration Rises

Now, not only do people use their smartphones more than ever to shop, but more people are purchasing smartphones than ever before.

This means the global audience for fashion eCommerce brands is increasing at a rapid pace.

To cut a long story short, mobile penetration is rising.

In Australia alone, 83.6% of the country own a smartphone, which means more people are online.

The outcome?

Online shopping is on the rise, too.

Looking forward, global mobile-penetration rates will continue to rise. Mobile broadband subscription rates will climb to almost 8 billion worldwide by 2022, with the highest growth rate being in the Middle East and Africa.

Mobile Broadband Subscriptions By Region Chart Image

Experts expect mobile phone purchases to rise to 50% of all eCommerce sales by 2021, supported by the global growth of smartphone purchases.

The more people use mobile technology, the more it becomes part of their daily lives. We’ve seen it all before, with the reliance on smartphone assistants like Siri and Alexa, and this is just the beginning.

So, what’s next?

Needless to say, the partnership between mobile technology and fashion eCommerce is growing. We’d go as far as calling the partnership a friendship – a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of connection.

If you haven’t already checked out the AR adverts on Facebook from the likes of Michael Kors and Sephora, they allow customers to try on new looks in virtual fitting rooms, from wherever they are.

Michael Kors Virtual Fitting Room Example Image

These types of adverts will become widespread, with tonnes of brands implementing this type of mobile engagement.

We’ll also see a rise in shoppable content, where fashion companies create content specifically used to grant access to audiences to buy what they see, right when they see it.

Huge online retailers such as Pretty Little Thing currently create lots of creative and shoppable carousels for its Instagram stories. This is definitely a firm trend in the future of social commerce.

Pretty Little Thing Example Image

So, if the relationship between mobile technology and fashion eCommerce is only going to grow, could it be time for your business to capitalise on the ‘trend’ that's here to stay?