This recent article in UK Guardian reports that fashion e-tail is a big growth area in the United Kingdom, with 97% of British web users shopping online. Apparently 36% of these shoppers are buying clothes. This is an increase of 40% in the past two years.

I only started shopping online regularly about 18 months ago. Clothing, footwear and accessories are extremely tangible and the thought of purchasing a product without inspecting it or trying it on was beyond my comprehension. In the end it was the frustration of not getting a particular size, colour or style in brick and mortar stores that won me over.

I started doing the Zappos thing and was pleasantly surprised at how painless it was. Their product reviews are accurate and the shipping is free. I gained online shopping confidence and started ordering a variety of product categories from Esprit, Nordstrom, Tulle, Spiegel, Macy’s and Bare Necessities. So far so good.

I’m still discerning about what I order on-line. It isn’t always possible, but I prefer to order a clothing item via the internet after I’ve seen it in the flesh. I also like to order from sites that allow in-store returns. I buy a small proportion of my clothes online – probably less than 5%. But for underwear and shoes the online percentage is closer to 50%.

Tell us about your online shopping habits. How much of your wardrobe is purchased through e-tail? Do you return a sizable portion of what you purchase through the internet? Which items do you prefer to buy online and which do your prefer to purchase in store?