Twenty-plus years into the internet era, e-commerce continues its explosive growth. A recent ARC Advisory survey suggests that e-commerce revenues have increased 51 percent over the past five years and will grow 42 percent in the next five years. Online apparel sales reached 27.4 percent of all U.S. apparel sales in 2017, according to Internet Retailer. So it’s not surprising that more apparel brands are now giving e-commerce the attention they’ve always given to traditional retail channels, particularly stores.
Much of this attention consists of adding new warehouses dedicated to fulfilling online orders and equipping them with high-tech systems that enable them to match the expectations of rapid delivery set by Amazon and other e-commerce specialists. Of the 100 largest U.S. warehouse leases by square footage in the first half of 2018, 23 were for dedicated e-commerce facilities, according to a survey by the real estate services firm CBRE Group. Another 33 of the top 100 leases were for third-party logistics firms, many of which operate dedicated e-commerce centers that serve multiple retailers.