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Online sales grow by 19.1% in September, with footwear, clothing and textiles most likely to be bought online

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Online sales grew by 19.1% in September, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics’ Retail Sales bulletin for September showed average online spending grew to £615m a week during the month. Some 10.2% of all retail spending, excluding fuel, took place online.

Meanwhile figures from IMRG suggested year-on-year online growth of 20%, with growth of 13% since August that was, said the etail trade association, the steepest monthly rise between August and September in the history of its index.

The IMRG-Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index also found that average basket values were at their highest for 15 months, and that almost a quarter of mobile sales were through smartphones. Increasing use of mobile devices continues to fuel sales growth.

Beneficiaries of the growth included the clothing sector, with sales up by 18% compared to this time last year. Within this area, a number of sectors recorded strong growth levels, including lingerie (30%) accessories (20%) and footwear (20%). The electrical sector has also picked up in terms of year-on-year growth, following periods of low growth over the summer, the result of sales of new technologies and next generation smartphones.

Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini : “This month’s index is a good indicator that we are headed towards economic recovery, and a great sign for a strong Christmas. The fact that e-retail has seen its sharpest period of growth for September suggests that consumers are shopping with confidence. In addition, September’s three year high in the average clothing basket value is a clear sign that retailers are selling through at full price, giving even more confidence to the economic recovery.”

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG , said: “The record monthly growth in September is an indication of increasing consumer confidence and with smartphone year-on-year sales growth reaching an impressive 150%, it is also evident that shoppers are becoming more comfortable with shopping via their mobile devices. Year-to-date the UK e-retail sector has grown 16% compared with the same period in 2012 and we anticipate the sector will continue to record double-digit growth during Q4.”

According to the ONS figures, the categories that sold most online as a proportion of total sales were textiles, clothing and footwear (10.1% of total sales, and 17.8% up on the same time last year) and department stores (9.2% of total sales, and 29.8% up on last time).

Food remains the category with the lowest proportion of online sales, at 3.4%. Ecomerce sales in the category grew by 3.4% on last year.

Online sales remained well ahead of total retail sales. In September 2013 the quantity bought grew by 2.2% on last September, and 0.6% compared with the previous month, August 2013. The amount spent grew by 3.2%, year-on-year, and by 0.5% compared with last August.

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