Bucking the trend of falling consumer confidence, growth in UK etail spending was 17% higher in June 2016 than the previous year, according to the IMRG/Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. The month-on-month growth was 2%.
The average basket value of goods purchased online was also up, from £75.11 in June 2015, to £80.34 last month, in line with the trend so far this year, according to IMRG.
The growth last month was against a backdrop of very wet weather for most of the UK, and – of course – the EU Referendum.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer, at IMRG, said: “While the Index results reveal a strong performance during June, it is too early to say whether the Brexit vote will have any long-term impact on the UK’s online retail sector. However, early signs from a recent IMRG poll of retailers found that around two-thirds of online merchants saw a slowdown in sales in the few days after the EU referendum, with most reporting sales appearing to recover to ‘normal’ levels again afterwards.
“Smartphones continue to take an increasing share of mobile commerce with year-on-year growth rates also surging ahead. Conversely, sales completed on tablet devices flat-lined during June, which effectively means that all growth in mobile commerce came via smartphones last month.”
In m-commerce terms, the growth of sales made on tablets continued to nosedive, with year-on-year growth at just 0.4% – the lowest figure registered since year-on-year monitoring began in 2013.
Sales made on smartphones grew 69% year-on-year, following extremely strong growth of 117% year-on-year in June 2015.
As the weather put an end to many people’s summer barbecue plans, sales of beer, wines and spirits went into decline at -7%. Health and beauty sales also fell by -5%, which is the category’s weakest performance in six years. However online sales of clothing performed strongly with lingerie up 41%, accessories up 46% and footwear up 34% – a five-year high.
Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini said: “It’s widely agreed that consumer confidence is falling, and this is something that is being heard from retailers across a myriad of sectors. As a result, it’s great to see that, both in the run up to the referendum and in the immediate aftermath, online sales growth remained strong.
“These figures obviously don’t encapsulate the entire Brexit fall out, and the full impact of the referendum is something that we will not be able to wholly analyse for a number of months. In the meantime, retailers need to continue to focus on ensuring they give their customers every reason to shop with them.”