Fashion is an ever-shifting industry with a long history under its belt. The clothing sector has had an enormous impact on society throughout the centuries, with garments becoming as important as signs of social status or wealth. Fashion is an industry prone to change, adjusting to modern times as new needs arise. As the internet took off in the 21st century and fast fashion gained popularity, the need to supply the demand moved to the virtual world. Spain, home to some of the world's most recognized apparel brands, did not fall behind, with online fashion sales experiencing steady growth in recent years. In fact, apparel is the largest e-commerce sector by revenue in Spain.
A cradle of high and fast fashion
In recent decades, Spain has seen local designers and couture brands become household names worldwide. Luxury brands such as Balenciaga, Manolo Blahnik, and Loewe were born and raised in the Spanish market, later conquering the global fashion industry. In turn, fast fashion has also prospered in the Iberian nation. Headquartered in Galicia, holding company Inditex generates some 7.5 billion euros in annual online sales globally. The firm has become one of the largest fashion groups in the world by managing an impressive brand portfolio featuring retail brands Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, among others. Zara, for instance, is among the most popular fashion e-commerce websites, accounting alone for over four percent of visits to sites in this segment in 2022. In e-commerce sales, however, the iconic department store El Corte Inglés took the top spot, outperforming not only Zara, but also international players, including the German platform Zalando and the Chinese online fast fashion retailer SHEIN.
What is driving e-fashion shopping?
Growing confidence in online payment methods, the rise of mobile shopping, and the rapid development of e-commerce due to the COVID-19 lockdown have been key to the success of online clothing retailing in Spain. More specifically, free shipping, product quality, and easy returns are some of the most attractive drivers for Spaniards to buy their clothes on the net.
In addition, online fashion retailing has greatly benefited in the past decade from brands in social media channels to increase the sector's visibility on the internet. Influencer marketing has also weighed in on fashion exposure and revenue, with actor Manu Rios -internationally known for his role in Netflix's Élite- ranking among the most-followed fashion Instagrammers in Spain in 2022. In recent years, social media's wide reach and influencer relatability have become powerful tools for fashion brands to stand out from their competitors.
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