Over the past 10-15 years there’s been an ongoing debate about the future of fashion, specifically whether the high street can survive as demand for online fashion continues to grow. Even now it continues to be a debate, but recently that have been some key identifier to help predict the future of womens fashion, which is a big sector of retail and the need for stores or a bigger online presence.


The ecommerce industry boomed during the pandemic and surprising whilst users couldn’t go out, their buying habits increased. The majority of larger online stores reported large growth in 2020 & 2021 however since the high street reopened properly, 2022 comparisons have reports drops in demand. All the performances are expected and logical however a lot of business set there goes too high after 2021 and might be seeing decline in 2022.

Delivery & Returns

A few of the large ecommerce brand such as BooHoo, Zara and PLT has announced they will be charging for returning their products. This comes from the habit that customers have to buy multiple sizes and continually return product that may have never been needed.

Free returns has put bad habits in place and is a massive overhead as the business will need to factor in the delivery charge, the product inspection and restocking. This is all labour and time the business would need to absorb, and customers paying for returns will fund this and also prevent unnecessary returns.


Since the surge in sales during 2020 and 2021 more ecommerce business are now focused on advertising online potentially giving their bricks and mortar stores less investment. Competition is high in terms of social media as well as visibility on Google and appearing for search terms such as “little black dress” making sure a fashion website ranks website for relevant keyword offers the most qualified users search for specific products.

Physical Stores

While the above mainly leans toward the future being in ecommerce, however once thing online stores can’t offer is trying on the garments and the ability to increase a customers average order value by letting them wonder around the store and carefully placing products to encourage spending. As mentioned there were surges in the previous years however the drop in 2022 highlight the need for bricks and motor stores and how the high street gives people the ability to wonder around several stores to complete their shopping.

Some online store are working on augmented reality to allow users to “try on” christmas party dresses before there big occasions. It is obviously not everyones first choice giving the high street an advantage but this will naturally be developed there causing a threat to physical stores.


With same day delivery, augmented reality, drop shipping and lower prices, the ecommerce fashion sector is a big threat to the high street and as more younger generation grow into the ease of online shopping, it does seem that the high street will be pushed aside for online shopping. Finally, many online stores such as Amazon are trailing physicall stores and show promosie, so it’s likely that both options will be around for at least the next  10 years.



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