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Online sales ‘back on track’ in July: IMRG

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UK online sales grew by 14% year-on-year in July as shoppers spent an estimated £8.1bn over the internet – £1bn more than at the same time last year (£7.1bn), according to IMRG figures out today.

Ecommerce was also up by 3% compared to June, the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index found.

IMRG, which collects data from more than 100 retailers who sell online, says the results show online sales “back on track” following disappointing figures in June when sales fell by 5% compared to the previous month.

“With the July Index performance back to solid double-digit growth, it appears the disappointing results in June were merely a blip,” said Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG.

Sectors including travel (+13%, year-on-year), electricals, (+19%) and home and gardens (+17%) showed particularly strong growth. The travel sector saw its strongest July performance since 2010, following four consecutive months of single-digit annual growth that averaged 5%.

Spooner added: “It is evident that consumers are now spending more money online, and the increase in high-ticket purchases, including electrical items, furniture and holidays, indicates that consumer confidence is certainly increasing. The UK online retail industry is, once again, performing close to our growth forecast and we are still on track to see in excess of £100bn spent online for the first time this year.”

Adgild Hop, head of retail consulting UK at Capgemini, said the news would be welcomed by UK retailers. “Earlier results this year had suggested that British shoppers weren’t averse to spending but just reluctant to splash out on the more expensive luxuries,” said Hop. “With the recent positive noises about the UK economy, this month we have seen that consumer confidence appears to be improving, with a strong increase in big-ticket transactions in travel and electricals in particular. Retailers will no doubt hope to see this trend continuing for the remainder of the year and into Christmas.”

Travel company is among those enjoying the uplift seen across the sector, reporting a 39% rise in bookings in June and a 44% lift in bookings in July, when revenue rose by 35% as traffic increased by 12%. Managing director Chris Clarkson said: “Sunshine is very confident consumer confidence is continuing upwards and allowing consumers to loosen their purse strings. However, they’re still looking for value in their leisure travel spend.”

The figures come shortly after research from Verdict suggested 26.4% of menswear sales would take place online by 2019, and that multichannel retailers risk losing out to pureplays who have led the way in terms of website functionality.

Verdict associate analyst Jessica Fioriti said: “With etailers setting the standard, multichannel players must maximise the advantages they do have or risk losing out on £1.7bn additional spend by 2019.”

The report also suggests that 65.9% of male shoppers buy online, with highest rates among the 15 to 34 age group, and that Amazon was now the most visited site for men’s clothing and footwear, enjoying a shopper conversion rate of 69.3%.

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