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Online retail sales declined by 11% in August

British shoppers spent £5.8 billion online in August, according to figures released today (19/09/2012), representing an 11 per cent drop on the previous month.

Although the figure shows year-on-year growth of 11 per cent, the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index said that these results are disappointing given the high hopes for the Olympics.

Although a decline in sales is typical between July and August as consumers travel abroad for summer holidays, the index noted that the Games distracted regular online shoppers with last month’s figure contrasting starkly with the 13 per cent growth in e-commerce seen in the year-to-date.

Chris Webster, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology, Capgemini UK said: “It is very common for August to see a slight decline in e-retail sales, but it is interesting to see just how much an added impact the Olympics had.

“It will now be up to retailers to capitalise on the changing season, and make sure the correct strategy is in place as we enter the run up to Christmas.”

Electricals sales growth fell to just 11 per cent in August despite a strong year-on-year performance over the last four months, reporting a month-on-month decrease of two per cent , while clothing sales declined 18 per cent on July, also reported year-on-year growth of 11 per cent.

However, gifts and health & beauty fared well over the period, growing 41 per cent and 25 per cent year-on-year respectively while m-commerce sales also saw a jump.

The m-Retail Index reported staggering growth of 294 per cent on the same period last year while, as with the e-Retail conversion rate, actual sales improved marginally as browsing became more focused.

Pure-play e-tailers outperformed their multichannel counterparts, growing 15 per cent year-on-year compared to eight per cent growth across multichannel while, over the last three months, pure-play e-tailers saw average growth of six per cent year-on-year more than multichannel retailers.

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer, IMRG, said of the findings: “While online retail sales saw a boost during July in the run up to the Olympic Games, the same cannot be said during the event itself.

“The 11 per cent growth recorded in August is below the average Index performance year-to-date and is perhaps an indication that Olympic fever did not have an overall positive impact on the online retail industry.

“While sales via mobile devices also recorded lower annual growth than seen in recent months, the m-Retail Index also reveals that the average spend via mobile devices was the lowest recorded during 2012.

“However, sales via mobile devices have grown a staggering 320 per cent year-to-date compared with the same period in 2011 and by the end of this year we expect m-retail to account for around 20 per cent of online sales in the UK”.

Source : Gemma Taylor – Retail Gazette

19 September 2012
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