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Heat + World Cup = 17% online growth

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Warm weather and the World Cup helped deliver a 17% boost for online sales in May. UK shoppers spent an estimated £8.2bn over the internet during the course of the month, according to etail trade association the IMRG.

The total rises still higher to 20% year-on-year growth if travel sales are stripped out of the figures, the IMRG-Capgemini eRetail Sales Index found.

The electricals sector was among the fast-growth categories of the month, with sales up by 19% and expected to rise still higher during the World Cup. The 2010 World Cup saw electricals sales rise by 26%, while the 2012 European Championships boosted sales by 35% as fans upgraded their televisions. Based on those figures, IMRG and Capgemini predict 30% growth for sales in the category during June.

Clothing sales also climbed by 19%, boosted by warmer weather in the second half of the month, while sales of accessories grew by 30%. The garden sector also grew by 20% as shoppers kitted themselves out for BBQs and garden parties.

“Once again, the UK online retail market recorded solid annual growth last month, and, excluding travel sales, the impressive 20% year-on-year performance is well ahead of our 2014 growth forecast,” said Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG .

“Consumers are also spending more when shopping online with the average basket value in May reaching £88, the highest level recorded in two years.

“As with all major sporting events, retailers are gearing up for the World Cup and over the coming weeks we expect to see a surge in sales of televisions and home entertainment systems as football fans hope to see England progress to the final stages of the competition from the comfort of their own homes.

Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini , said the index was a bellwether for the UK economy and consumer behaviour. “This month it has illustrated just how influential large sporting events can be on the retail sector, and how World Cup fever has well and truly gripped the UK. This has resulted in an increase in the sale of electrical items which will have grown further in the first half of the month. Just how long that growth continues may well depend on how far England progress through the tournament as patriotic fans invest in bigger and better TVs to cheer on their team.”

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