Almost half way through the year and 2016 is proving to be quite the year for online fashion in the UK. At its current rate, before 2017, fashion is likely to become our biggest online market, and in the next 4 years is likely to account for almost 30% of online purchases.

We’ve seen an ever evolving landscape and endless opportunities for fashion that have come with the emergence of “online”. As follows are 10 areas in which we can see a shift and which are likely to become widely used in the fashion space in the next couple years.

1. Programmatic advertising for fashion brands is here to stay

Programmatic advertising offers fashion brands unparalleled granular targeting and reach with the added advantage of measurability. Diesel demonstrated that it is possible to find the right audience through programmatic when they specifically targeted young music and fashion fans for its Decoded campaign. If you’ve got a very particular demographic in mind, programmatic allows you to reach them at the most opportune time with a budget you set.

2. Luxury fashion brands jumping on the e-commerce wagon

Luxury fashion brands have been late to join the party through fear that moving to e-commerce will devalue their offering. Frankly, it’s surprising that it’s taken so many so long but the stats clearly show the shift. China have taken the lead on this over the last few years with a massive 70% increase in growth of luxury brands adopting e-commerce.

3. “Click & Collect or Deliver” close on the radar for fashion

For groceries this concept isn’t a new one – many of us order our food online and swing by to collect it at a convenient time or better still arrange delivery. Surely this is something the fashion world needs to jump on?

4. Content is king

In order to reach consumers, advertising campaigns don’t quite cut it anymore – your audience will discover you through consistent, exciting and compelling content. Carefully planned blogging, social media and newsletter campaigns can engage with consumers at the most opportune time.

This isn’t to say that traditional marketing routes are dead – by no means are they, but the fashion world should dive deep into inbound marketing which is well explained by Hubspot tutorials.

5. m-commerce to continue growth

Mobile browsing and purchasing has been on an incline for years – we all spend much of our time on mobile or tablet, and this trend in fashion is continuing to grow with mobile sales expected to double from £20bn to £40bn in the next 3 years in the UK alone.

6. Men’s online fashion is catching up with the female market

Although the female market still dominates, UK menswear sales have seen an increase of 264% between 2011 and 2014, compared to only 87% in womenswear. And this trend is set to continue.

7. Importance of multi-device touch-points set to continue

As fashion trend number 4 states, we’ll expect to continue to see growth in mobile purchases, however we now have many devices at our fingertips, all being used at different times of the day and consumers aren’t shying away from using them all. Consumers are now using an average of 5 devices in the purchasing process, compared to 2.8 devices in 2014.

8. 3D Printing

3D printing is mind-boggling, and due to its growing popularity is becoming more affordable. Sports fashion giants such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas have given it a go and as the technology improves we’ll see more luxury and high-end brands getting involved in the trend – it’s certainly a way to stand out!

9. Messaging

Can messaging beat social media as the king of online activity? Certainly Facebook seem to think so with their messaging service and acquisition of WhatsApp, and this is a growing opportunity for brands to communicate with their customers.

10. Virtual Reality

Okay, so it’s not mass market, but it’s cool and something we should adopt if we can. Foxtons estate agency have just introduced virtual reality home viewings(which makes perfect sense!) and in the fashion world Selfridges want to create “v-commerce” experience which allows customers to browse the shop from home through a virtual headset.

Et voila – 10 trends which show that the online fashion market is only going to grow. Fashion brands of all sizes can take advantage of technology in so many ways and Republik would be happy to share some ideas with you.