Further opportunities exist to develop online sales for footwear, according to a new report from market research company The NPD Group.

More consumers have shopped online for apparel than for footwear, but footwear comes out on top in terms of sales penetration, according to the E-Commerce Hot Topic fashion footwear report.

“Retailers have come a long way in getting consumers to engage in shopping online,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD chief industry analyst.

“We can see that consumers are pretty comfortable these days in this marketplace but opportunity exists to further develop the footwear category.”

The report says that, even though footwear is one of the top 10 categories shopped for and purchased online, more than one-quarter of consumers would rather shop in-store.

“Converting these sceptics to believers is especially important for online retailers because those that have ever shopped online for footwear, spend half of their total footwear shopping time online,” said Cohen.

“That’s a lot of time, and it’s translating into a lot of dollar sales.”

Meanwhile, online footwear sales for men are lower than those for women, although men do a greater share of their total footwear shopping online.

And multi-brand retailers sites are the most preferred venues for shopping, the report suggests.