U.S. online sales for women’s accessories grew 7%, to 7.1 billion, in the 12 months ending March 2014, according to new research from The NPD Group. While website purchases represented only 19% of the total $37.4 billion women’s accessories market, the performance of online sales was a bright spot for the industry, which remained flat during the same period.

Online unit sales also increased, rising 10%, while the average selling price declined 3%. In-store unit sales and average selling price experienced respective declines of 4%. A $3 differential between the average price of an online purchase ($31) and an in-store purchase ($28) also contributed to the upward trend of online sales.

Three out of the seven accessories categories experienced double-digit dollar sales gains online during the period. Bag sales, accounting for 24% of the total women’s accessories market, grew 17% Other categories that grew by double digits online were sunglasses (+48%) and luggage (+12%).  Jewelry (+1%), and small leather goods (+5%) increased by single digits.

“The time is now for brands and retailers to not only upgrade their online presence, but to also enhance the in-store experience. The accessories industry needs to stay ahead of the curve, and help to lead fashion towards the burgeoning world of Web 3.0,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “This can begin with simple adjustments to marketing strategies like improving online imagery to give better views of products, or carrying more flagship products in-store while using online as a means of expanding assortments.”

According to Ad-ology Research, fashionistas are consumers who are typically interested in the latest fashion and designer collections, apparel and footwear trends, celebrity fashion, retail sales/promotions, and fashion-related media.  In addition to enjoying fashion as a leisure activity, fashionistas are considerably more likely than the average consumer to also enjoy home decorating and collecting fine art/antiques as a leisure activity.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-ology PRO. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.