The UK online retail market grew by 20% in June, according to IMRG figures published today. It is only the second time growth has reached this level for two years.
The month saw total internet sales reach £4.4bn, equivalent to £72 for every person in the UK and a record for June. The rise in sales builds on a 22% rise in May, making these the most successful two months for e-retailers since June 2008.
In the first half of the year, £26.2bn was spent online in the UK, up by 15% on the same period in 2009. The second quarter of the year recorded an 18% lift, compared to last year.
Alcohol was one of the fastest-growing categories, gaining 23% thanks to the World Cup, Wimbledon and the third hottest June since 1929. Online electrical goods sales were up by 26%, compared to last June, while clothes sales rose by 22%. Web purchases of accessories rose by 73% compared to the same month last year.
Multichannel retailers saw online trade grow by 27% compared to last year.
Chris Webster, vice president and head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “Despite turbulent times June has seen the second consecutive month of year-on-year growth above the 20% mark.
“Consumers are more savvy than ever and continue to look towards online shopping to find the best deals that the high street and the Internet can offer.”
Bruce Fair, managing director of Kelkoo UK, said: “Among the current economic uncertainty, the good news is that retail spending over the summer as a whole is forecast to see a £1.4 billion uplift on last year, the highest year-on-year increase over the past three years."
And Jonathon Brown, head of online selling at John Lewis, said June had been an excellent month for Johnlewis.com, with online sales up by 43%, year on year. Womenswear sales rose by more than 400%.
But Mark Lewis, chief executive of Collect +, warned that retailers must not rest on their laurels. "The sun will not last and the months of sporting expectation and anticipation have now passed us by," he said. "Our research has shown that retailers must continue to adapt to offer services that fit in with busy commuter lives if they are to maintain customer loyalty. More choice when it comes to product deliveries and returns is essential to a smooth customer experience, and an area that continues to be neglected by some of the UKs biggest online retailers.”
The figures come a week after British Retail Consortium figures also suggested June had seen the second highest sales rise of the year, growing by 17.3%. The BRC put May sales at 21.9%.