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Online sales experience fastest growth for over a year!

Lily Shanahan
Lily Shanahan

22 October 2012

Reports released today show that online sales have experienced the biggest increase for over a year. New figures just out, from IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales show:

  • £6.4bn was spent online by UK Shoppers in September
  • 16% more than at the same time last year and 11% more than August.

This news has led IMRG and Capgemini to raise their forecast for the year to 14% from 13%.

The Office for National Statistics figures have also suggested:

  • A9.4% increase in sales this September, compared to the same time last year. This is an average online sales growth of £507.8m a week.
  • At the same time an average of £6.6bn a week was sent across all types of retailing in September 2012.

According to the Office for National statistics’ Retail Sales Bulletin comparing September 2012 to September 2011:

  • There was an estimated 2.5% rise, year on year, in total sales in volume
  • There was also a 3.2% rise year on year in total sales in value

This performance means that UK online sales have grown by 15% in the third quarter of the year.

Tina Spooner, IMRGs, reported that, this was the strongest quarterly growth recorded since quarter 2 last year and is perhaps an indicator that overall consumer confidence is increasing. Furthermore, the weather getting cooler and more unsettled towards the end of September gave a much welcomed boost to the clothing sector, with annual growth at its highest since last October. At least the unsettled weather is good for something!

The fastest growing category:

  • Gifts: 54% with year on year growth
  • Clothing: 18% year in year and 27% month on month
  • Beers, wines and spirits : saw 20%
  • Health and beauty: saw a 20% growth

The weather drove consumers back into the stores, although online only retailers continued to grow faster than multi-channel retailers – but the difference however narrowed to 3%.

Interestingly, mobile sales saw a massive growth of 312% in September, with the September conversion rate at 1.9% it was the highest ever. Encouragement if it were needed for online retailers to include smart phone, mobile shopping applications and mobile web in their multi-channel offering.

IMRG are quoted as saying that the upward trend in the conversion of browsers to buyers is evidence that consumer behaviour is being transformed by mobile devices. Retailers that integrate the mobile platform as an essential part of their multi-channel strategies will no doubt continue to reap the rewards over the lucrative festive shopping period.

As online is currently doing so well, and mobile is now above 50%, all retailers need to recognise the implication of this data and optimise their online sites. This recommendation should certainly happen before the Christmas rush.

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