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Online sales grow by 20% in June in their strongest performance for two years

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Online sales put in their best performance for two years in June as they grew by 20%, according to new figures from etail trade association the IMRG .

The figures in today’s IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index take online sales growth for the second quarter of the year to 17%, on average, compared to the same time last year. Previous predictions were for 12%.

The index also showed the first monthly growth between May and June for five years, with internet retail sales up by 2.4% since May 2013.

But while the figures suggest that spending is up as a whole, it seems likely that individual consumers are spending less. The average basket value in June stood at £79, down by 9% from the £87 average in June 2012, as shoppers headed for online promotions.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “The online retail market has performed above expectation so far this year, with the first half coming in at 16% average growth against our earlier forecast of 12%.

“We haven’t seen the rate of year-on-year growth recorded in June for two years, which is around the time confidence in an economic recovery seemed to be heading toward its lowest ebb. The solid growth last month was driven by a strong performance in clothing, perhaps as a result of heavy discounting, however the UK online retail market has performed remarkably consistently throughout 2013 so far, which may signify an overall improvement in consumer confidence that will be welcome news for many.”

Standout sectors included clothing, where sales were up by 29%, year-on-year, as shoppers updated their wardrobes in the light of warm weather. Home and garden transactions were also up by 35%, year-on-year, while travel grew by 15%.

Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “The uplift experienced this month will provide retailers with a note of cheer, with the Index recording its biggest year-on-year growth since June 2011 and Q2 being 17% up on Q2 2012. This is in stark contrast to the continued decline in store footfall reported by the BRC over the first half of the year and amplifies the increase of online at the expense of store sales. In addition, Britons remain price-conscious, but have responded well to good deals found online and it’s good to see consumer confidence returning.”

Transactions via mobile devices continued to grow, with sales up by 136% year-on-year, and up by 8% on the previous month. Conversion rates increased from 1.27% in June 2012 to 2.03% in June 2013, driven, it’s thought, by spending via tablet.

Oliver Ripley, mobile product manager at eCommera said: “Mobile commerce continues to power on in 2013. More specifically, the mobile conversion rate has increased from 1.27% in June 2012 to 2.03% in June 2013 which is a very positive signal that mobile commerce is achieving serious traction in the UK market.

“Two factors are driving this trend. They are push and pull factors. Firstly, modern retailers are investing more in their mobile commerce storefronts, whether that is browser or app. More effort is being put into user interface, the user journey, the payment experience and so on making it a far more pleasurable experience for customers who are using the mobile services.

“Secondly, users are becoming more accepting of using mobile devices to complete transactions and this is especially true for the younger, Generation X & Y, consumer types.”

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