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Christmas effect helps ecommerce sales to grow by 14% in October: IMRG

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UK shoppers spent an estimated £8.8bn online in October – the highest monthly spend since December 2013 – suggesting that the Christmas shopping season has got off to a strong start.

Internet sales were up by 14% compared to the same month last year, and by 16% when travel was excluded. Compared to the previous month, sales were up by 7%. M-commerce sales rose still faster, with sales on tablet computers and smartphones up by 43% on last year, and 11% on the previous month.

“The welcome return to double-digit growth last month follows the poor September results, when the online retail industry was adversely affected by the unseasonably mild autumn temperatures,” said Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG . Excluding the travel sector, e-retail sales growth is in line with our growth forecast for 2014 at 17% year-to-date and we expect this solid performance to continue for the remainder of the year.

“Despite the fact we appear to be seeing a levelling off in consumer confidence, a number of factors indicate that the online retail industry is likely to see a strong festive trading period. E-retailers appear to be more confident in their growth predictions for the fourth quarter, shoppers are spending more per online transaction than last year and our latest research reveals almost half of consumers will order gifts online less than a week before Christmas Day.”

Clothing was among the strongest categories, with sales up by 13.5%, year-on-year. which made the most impact. Taken on its own, the accessories category was up by 63%, and lingerie grew by 40%.

Multichannel traders appeared to be making the most of the advantage conferred by stores, with sales up by 18% compared to the same time last year. Pureplays, on the other hand, saw sales rise by 8%.

Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital, consumer products and retail, at Capgemini , said: “Multichannel 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.”

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