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The Growing Industry of Online Shopping

Online shopping is growing industry, especially among countries with well-developed infrastructure for marketing activities over the Internet. The development of more advanced technology has facilitated smoother surfing on the Internet. People can now access the Internet through not only from PCs, but also from the Web TVs, PalmPilots and mobile phone. According to a study, more than 600 million people will have accessed the Internet globally by the end of 2002 and spent more than US$1 trillion buying goods and services online (Straits Time, 2002). The typical online purchaser in the year 2000 was well educated, married, and had a high economic status (Coyle, 2000). Electronic retailing continues to grow in size and importance as increasing numbers of consumers buy online, and apparel purchases represent a significant portion of online purchasing. Americans spent $184 billion on total apparel in 1999 with 1.1billion attributed to online apparel purchase (Kuntz, 2000). Although some research on consumer Internet behaviour has begun to appear, little attention has been devoted specifically to buying apparel online. Our study fills this gap by focusing on this new clothing behaviour.

Selling apparel online presents unique challenges to cybermarkets. Little is known of consumer buyer behaviour online, and e-tailers need to attract those consumers most likely to buy in order to cover the costs of e-commerce and make profit to justify this new form of distribution. Consumers differ in the extent of online buying in which they engage. Since online buying is a new consumer activity, we expect that consumers who have previous experience in online buying will be more likely to buy apparel online than those who lack such experience. This is because, as consumers gain experience with online buying, perhaps with small purchases at first, they will be likely to develop confidence and skills that facilitate more ambitious buying (Seckler

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