After disappointing September sales numbers, spending in October is back on track with double digit growth of 14%, indicates the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. The growth, which according to the researchers indicates that the Christmas season has begun, is mainly caused by the strong performance of the Clothing sector that saw an annual growth of 13.5% in October after a 0.3% growth in September.
For almost 25 years, consulting firm Capgemini together with the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), UK’s industry association for e-retail, publishes the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This index tracks ‘online sales’, defined as ‘transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels’, from any location, including in-store.
The latest edition of the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows that sales in October were back on track after a disappointing September, with an annual double digit growth of 14% and a month-on-month growth of 7%, representing the highest level of growth between September and October for the past four years. Year-on-year, the UK online retail sector, excluding Travel, grew with 16%, which is a year-to-date growth of 17%. The spending increase was mirrored by sales made on smartphones and tablet devices in October, with an annual growth of 43% recorded, which is an 11% increase on September.
The index shows that an estimated £8.8 billion was spent online, which is the highest market value since December 2013, and according to the researchers an indication that the 2014 Christmas shopping period has started.
According to the researchers, the growth of the index was boosted by a number of key sectors, with ‘Clothing’ solid performance impacting the most. After its lowest ever annual growth in September (0.3%), Clothing has returned to double digit growth with 13.5% year-on-year, and an impressive growth of 63% for its sub-sector Accessories and 40% for Lingerie. Other sectors that performed well are the Home and Garden sector, Beer, Wine & Spirits, and Electricals, which had year-on-year increases of 65%, 19% and 17% respectively.
The October index also showed a growing disparity between the Multichannel retailers and the online only retailers, with a year-on-year growth of 18% for multichannel versus 8% for pure play retailers. “Multi-channel retailers have been shifting their investments into digital strategies over the last few years, including sophisticated CRM platforms. This has enabled them to provide their customers with a joined up and integrated offering across all of their channels, something which is clearly having a positive influence on sales. As we fast approach the busy Christmas period, it will be interesting to see whether the online only retailers, which are typically able to compete in terms of cost, will be able to close this gap,” concludes Alex Smith-Bingham, Head of Digital, Consumer Products and Retail at Capgemini.