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IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index: Clothing drives online sales growth in April

17 May 2016

London – The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index has revealed that e-retail continued its double-digit growth this year, despite reports of sluggish sales growth on the high street, with purchases made online achieving a year-on-year increase of 11% in April. Whilst this continues the trend of solid annual growth so far recorded in e-retail in 2016, April’s figures were the lowest year-on-year growth rate so far this year. Sales were hampered slightly with Easter falling earlier this year, in March.

The Index was buoyed by healthy sales in clothing/apparel, which recorded a 15% annual increase, building on a similar year-on-year performance in April 2015. The growth was driven by the continued consumer appetite for accessories and footwear which reported respective year-on-year increases of 25% and 19%. Lingerie performed most impressively, shooting up to 32% year-on-year; a 19% growth on the previous month.

Other sectors which saw a solid April include gifts, which grew 16% year-on-year, and home and garden, up 13%.

However, online sales of alcohol recorded a more disappointing result, with a 13% decline on the same period last year. This is the sixth time in the last eight months that the sector has seen a negative drop as bad weather continues to delay the UK’s BBQ season.

In the mobile sector, smartphone sales continued to surge at the expense of tablet sales. Sales of smartphones grew 83%* while tablets grew just 3%*, falling way short of the 32% annual growth recorded in April 2015. However, the conversion rate for tablets was 1.7 percentage points higher than for smartphones.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer, IMRG said: “The growth in April was probably slightly ahead of where we may have anticipated given the cold weather, with a number of sectors outperforming the total market, including apparel where sales growth was up +15%. Year-to-date, overall e-retail growth is actually 2% ahead of our 11% growth forecast for 2016.

“A definite trend we have been recording so far this year is the displacement of sales from tablet devices – with sales growth just +3% through these devices – over to smartphones, where sales continue to be very strong. Larger mobile screens and better optimised sites seem to be working to increase confidence in using these devices for a wide range of activities.”

Bhavesh Unadkat, Retail Customer Engagement and Loyalty expert at Capgemini, “This was a tough month for retailers as their performance was up against Easter 2015 which fell in April last year.  They were also hampered by the heavy rainfall which discouraged shoppers from purchasing the seasonal items that traditionally drive the Index.  However double-digit growth is still very respectable and I expect May to be even stronger.”

*Excluding travel sector participants


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), 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 (Freemans, Grattan, Look Again, Kaleidoscope, Curvissa, Swimear365, Witt International UK), Get The Label,, House of Fraser,  Jack Wills, JD Sports, JD Williams, John Lewis Partnership,, Lakeland Furniture, 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, Scales Express, Schuh, Scotlight Direct, Scott,,,, Shop Direct Home Shopping (Littlewoods, Very, Very Exclusive), Serenata Flowers, Shoetique, Silentnight, 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 & 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.