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Britons spent £5bn online in July

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Online spenders spent £5bn in July, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

Britons spent an average of £81 each in a month that saw spending rise by 14% compared to the previous month as shoppers responded to sales promotions. Spending was up by 18% compared to last July, a figure received well by industry commentators.

The biggest areas of growth were in accessories (up by 64% compared to the same time last year), lingerie (31%), gifts (26%), and travel (18%). The growth in travel sales was put down to heavy discounting on holidays, together with poor weather at home.

Once again multichannel retailers outshone their pureplay rivals, growth by 18% compared to the online-only retailers’ 8%. Multichannel sellers also converted more browsers into sales, with a conversion rate of 4.49% compared to 4.35% for online-only retailers.

Chris Webster, vice president, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “Although online retail sales survived the recession more convincingly than high street sales, the last two years or so have no doubt been shaky at times. It is really encouraging to see growth levels returning to those seen pre-2007 and before consumer confidence was knocked by the financial crisis and recession.”

David Smith, managing director of IMRG, the ecommerce trade body, said: “With over half of the UK population online at least once a day it is no surprise that online sales continue to grow impressively year on year. The evidence mounts that high street retailers will need to invest more in their online business and put it at the heart of their retail strategy. Online retailers, on the other hand, will need to continue to innovate as they strive to close the growth gap.”

David Stratton, head of partnerships at HolidayExtras.com said: “July was a month of positive growth, with parking bookings up by seven per cent; hotels up by four per cent and overall growth of five per cent. These figures, while in line with our forecast, are behind our yearly budgeted expectations due to the volcano activity in April.

“We are delighted to be in a positive growth situation, particularly in the current economic climate. August to date has seen record booking days.”

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