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IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index: August heatwave and consumer confidence boosts online sales

19 Sep 2016

London – The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index has revealed online sales growth of 16% year-on-year (YoY) in August; equating to £9.8 billion online. The strong performance is in stark contrast to August 2015, during which the Index recorded a growth of just 5%. *

The long-awaited heatwave that much of the UK experienced last month, as well as the hottest August day in three years, is likely to have contributed significantly to the strong performance of the Index. The hot weather ensured shoppers continued to splash out on summer clothing, resulting in a 20% YoY increase for the clothing sector and 48% for accessories. August was also strong for the lingerie sector which grew 44% YoY. 

Other sectors boosted by the sunshine include the online sale of alcohol, which saw its first month of growth (4%) since March 2016. The home and garden sectors also recorded a healthy performance in August, increasing 30% and 25% respectively.

Last month marked a significant milestone for smartphone penetration. The Index revealed that for online sales made via a mobile device, 49.5% were made on a smartphone, compared to 50.5% for tablet. This is a YoY increase of 18.5% for smartphones, which in August 2015 accounted for just 31% of mobile sales, compared to the 69% made on a tablet.

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer, at IMRG: The solid performance in online sales continued during August, resulting in overall growth year-to-date reaching 15%, which is ahead of our growth forecast for 2016.  Following the initial turbulence reported by some retailers during the week following the EU referendum vote, the latest Index results suggest e-retailers had a successful summer, with many reporting normal trading patterns for this time of year. It appears the weak pound has helped boost international sales for some merchants who have reported buoyant sales from customers outside the UK, with countries within the Eurozone showing particularly strong growth.

“The shift towards smartphones as the preferred device for online shopping continues, with almost half of all mobile commerce sales now completed on these devices and annual growth rates on smartphones around 14x higher than those recorded on tablets year-to-date.”

Bhavesh Unadkat, Management Consultant in Retail Customer Engagement Design, Capgemini: “It’s reassuring to see consumer confidence remain buoyant – a growth of 16% on the year is extremely strong.  Mobile continues to impress with a near even split between traffic from mobile and desktop. However, the more interesting element is how conversion from smartphones continue to increase, it was under 1% last year and is now nearly 2%. Soon it will double again, and if retailers can hold their traffic and drive that level of conversion then it will not be long before mobile overtakes desktop in online sales.  As always, a seamless cross-channel and device journey is key to ensure market share gains are driven at a customer level and not just isolated to one channel.”

Last month saw online only retailers continue to outperform their multichannel counterparts (those with both an online and a physical presence) recording a 22% annual growth, compared to just 13%.

*Please note that this is partly explained by Bank Holiday sales falling in September’s figures in 2015


About the ‘IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’

The IMRG Capgemini Index, which was started in April 2000, tracks ‘online sales’, which we define as ‘transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels’ from any location, including in-store. 

Over one hundred e-retailers now regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including

A. Hume Country Clothing, Amara, Appliance House, Arcadia Group (Burton, Top Man, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Miss Selfridge), Arsenal Direct, Ask Direct,, B&Q, Berry Bros & Rudd, Blacks,, Boots, Brora, BT Shop,, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt, Clarks, Clinkards,, Damart, Debenhams, Deckers, Dunelm Mill, Effortless Skin, Ethical Superstore,, Firebox, First Choice, Freemans Grattan Holdings (Bonprix UK, Freemans, Grattan, Look Again, Kaleidoscope, Curvissa, Swimear365, Witt International UK), Get The Label,, House of Fraser, Jacamo, Jack Wills, JD Sports, JD Williams, John Lewis Partnership,  Liz Earle, M and M Direct, Made In Design, Majestic Wine, Marks & Spencer,  Millets, Missguided, Moss Bros, Naked Wines,, New Look, Next,, Oasis,,, Pink Boutique,, QVC, River Island, Rocket Dog, Schuh, Scotlight Direct, Scott,,,, Shop Direct Home Shopping (Littlewoods, Very, Very Exclusive), Serenata Flowers, Shoetique, Silentnight, Simply Be, Size, Sofa and Home, Sparkling Strawberry, Spirit Boutique,,, The Body Shop, The Great Gift Company, The White Company, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Universal Music, Waitrose, Within Home, Woods of Shropshire, Woolovers & Wynsors World of Shoes.

About IMRG

For over 20 years, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) has been the voice of e-retail in the UK. We are a membership community comprising businesses of all sizes – multichannel and pureplay, SME and multinational, and solution providers to industry.

We support our members through a range of activities – including market tracking and insight, benchmarking and best practice sharing. Our indexes provide in-depth intelligence on online sales, mobile sales, delivery trends and over 40 additional KPIs.

Our goal is to ensure our members have the information and resources they need to succeed in rapidly-evolving markets – both domestically and internationally.

About Capgemini

With more than 180,000 people in over 40 countries, Capgemini is a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2015 global revenues of EUR 11.9 billion. Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business, technology and digital solutions that fit their needs, enabling them to achieve innovation and competitiveness. A deeply multicultural organization, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model.

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Rightshore® is a trademark belonging to Capgemini