A lot has happened since the madness of March. Myriad points of focus within the commerce industry soon zoomed out and became fixed to one gigantic issue. Tracking the performance of commerce’s two halves — in-store sales and ecommerce — while the pandemic plays out has been the underlying theme for almost all analyses and stories.
Do you remember the ecommerce scene leading up to the pandemic? Do you remember the trajectories of online retailers leading up to March 2020? This article is a memoir to a pre-Covid world. A snapshot of ecommerce in the birth of 2020.
Top 10 online apparel brands pre-pandemic
Among the top 10 brands in terms of online sales, apparel retail chains are heavily present. And among them, five are department stores. So let’s take a look.
The multinational retailer, with its HQ in Philadelphia, sells a mix of merchandise including women and men’s fashion, footwear, houseware, music, beauty products and accessories.
Online sales growth for 2019 for Urban Outfitters was 10.5% and was positioned 34th in the top 1,000 ranking.
The department store chain had been operating in 840 locations across 49 states by the end of 2019. Although JCPenney made it into the top 10, it was already struggling with its ecommerce, leaving it open to being hit heavily as the pandemic hit.
Its 2019 ecommerce sales growth was actually -3%, a portend for five months later when in May it accounded it had filed for bankruptcy protection.
The apparel department store chain saw its 2019 ecommerce sales growth hit 15% — the second highest growth reported on the list. Founded in the seventeenth century, it now operates in 89 locations.
The US fashion retail chain based in Ohio, whose flagship brands include Bath & Body Works as well as Victoria’s Secret, reported online sales growth of 7.3% last year.
Fast forward to last month and L Brands announced that it would cut 15% of its workforce as a consequence of the pandemic and its knock-on effects to overall sales.
The world’s leader in athletic apparel, plus footwear and other sports equipment, Nike netted 35.7% growth in its ecommerce sales in 2019, the highest on the list. The famous brand uses Adobe Experience Manager to optimize its digital content to produce meaningful online experiences. We know this pretty intimately, actually, because Nike is a client of UV.
A worldwide clothing retailer, GAP comprises five brands besides its namesake, including Banana Republic and Old Navy. Its workforce totals 135,000 and operates just under 4,000 stores — the majority in the US.
Its ecommerce growth last year reached 11.4% as its total revenue hit just over $16 billion.
The retail chain based in Wisconsin covers every single state in the US except Hawaii. In 2012 it surpassed J.C. Penney to become the largest department store chain in the country.
Its ecommerce sales growth in 2019 reached 12.6, the third highest growth rate on the list. Fast forward to mid-2020 and Kohl’s online sales topped 58% growth despite its total revenue falling 23.1% in the second quarter.
The 109-year-old US luxury department store chain branched out into cosmetics, jewelry, handbags, and clothing after originally selling shoes exclusively.
Operating 117 stores in 40 states, its growth in ecommerce sales last year hit 7.5% — fast forward to today and Nordstrom recorded a heavy drop in net sales of 53% in the second quarter of 2020 — online sales even dropped 5% too.
Founded in 1858, Macy’s is the largest department store retailer in terms of sales. Back in 2019 its growth in ecommerce sales stood at 8% and was number 15 in the top 1,000 ranking.
In 2020, like all large retailers, total sales have dipped below the waterline. Yet its online sales in the second quarter of 2020 jumped 53$ helping it to stay afloat among the economic storms.
Despite it not being a household name like the others on the list, Kynetic tops the list of online apparel retailers. Founded only nine years ago, the ecommerce holding company owns Fanatics (a global leader in sports merchandise) and ShopRunner (a membership service that connects retailers and brands).
Its growth in ecommerce sales reached 12% in 2019, and listed as number 14 in the top 1,000 ranking.