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Online sales hit £10.1bn in November in ‘strongest month for a decade’

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Online sales grew fast in November as Christmas came early for etailers, new figures suggest. Today’s IMRG-Capgemini eRetail Sales Index showed shoppers spent £10.1bn last month. Sales grew by 20% compared to the same time last year, and 30% compared to this October, making the month one of the strongest the sector has seen for a decade.

Multichannel retailers reported annual growth of 23%, while for pureplays the figure stood at 16%. M-commerce transactions were up by 81% on last year. Overall, the conversion rate for the online retail sector hit 5.24%, the highest since April 2009.

Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini , said the results suggested strong growth lay ahead in December.

“E-retail continues to be the growth engine of an otherwise struggling retail secotr and as online spending exceeds £10bn in one month we can see just how integral the online and mobile channels have become to the shopping experience,” he said. “With the introduction of great value tablet devices offering better accessibility than ever before, the sector is only set to rocket in 2014.”

Categories that performed well included electricals, growing by 63% on the previous month, and home and garden, up by 42% on the same time last year.

“It seems the strong online growth recorded by the high street retailers is being driven by the prominent promotion of their multichannel offering,” said Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG . “We often see ‘online | mobile | in-store’ as the potential channels for engagement in retailer adverts.”

She said tablet use was likely to rise quickly in months to come, encouraging more retailers to invest in optimising their websites for tablet during the year – currently 51% of online retailers have one.

Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis , said: “With Christmas trade gaining momentum through the month, was up 24% on the year in November, slightly ahead of our 20% growth for the half year to date. Our mobile sales are over 100% up on the year as customers continue to change the ways in which they shop. Notable is that online now accounts for 33% of John Lewis’s overall trade, against 25% during the 2012 Christmas period.”

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