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Olympics, sunshine and sales add up to fastest online spending of the year: IMRG

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The UK’s online shoppers spent £6.5bn in July and 17% more than at the same time last year. That made it the strongest growth of the year so far, according to etail trade association the IMRG.

The build-up to the Olympic Games, summer sales and a warm spell, are all thought to have helped to inspire the boost to spending reflected in the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, published today, which showed that sales grew from last July’s £5.8bn, and were also 9% up on June’s online spending.

July’s performance took total growth for the year to date to 13%, in line with previous forecasts for the year. The strongest sectors included clothing, where sales grew by 18% on June and 15% on last July; electricals, up by 30% on last year, and travel, up by 12% year-on-year. Meanwhile m-retail sales grew by 313% on last year.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “July saw the strongest Index performance year-to-date in terms of annual growth, with sales peaking during the second week of the month when many retailers launched their summer sales. The London Olympics also appears to have had a positive effect for online retailers, including the travel sector, where the average spend was 24% higher than July last year. It seems not all Britons enjoyed the blanket coverage of the Olympics, with many instead choosing to holiday abroad.

“The rapid growth in m-retail sales is clearly being driven by a change in consumers’ shopping behaviour and how and when they engage with brands. Retailers that focus on optimising their websites for this new breed of shopper will, no doubt reap the benefits of their investment.”

Pureplay and catalogue retailers enjoyed, for the seventh consecutive month, stronger growth at 19.5% than their multichannel counterparts (15%). Online-only traders saw average basket spend rise by 23% to £101, while multichannel retailers’ average basket fell by 1% to £198.

Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said online retailers would welcome the return to high growth. He added: “While we won’t know the direct impact the Olympics has had on the sector until next month, the excitement and build up to the games certainly contributed to July’s strong performance. Retailers, both online and offline, were offered a unique opportunity to build an international base of customers, so it will be interesting to see whether the UK successfully capitalised on the millions of additional visitors to Britain.”

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