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Online sales rise by 18% in January

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January online sales grew by 18% compared to the same time last year as shoppers spent £8.1bn over the internet, according to IMRG figures.

Average basket values rose to £78 during the month, excluding travel, ahead of December’s average of £76 and January 2013’s average of £74, today’s IMRG-Capgemini eRetail Sales Index for January 2014 found. The rise comes despite a 26% dip on December 2013’s peak spending, and as conversion rates rose to 4.35%, the highest rate for the month in five years.

Sectors that benefitted from growth included home and garden (+21% on last year) and health and beauty (+23%) and, most notably, travel (+233%, month on month). However, clothing sales slowed to 9%.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG , said: “The number of browsers converting to buyers reached the highest levels recorded in the month of January since 2009 and this, together with the 18% annual growth in e-retail sales, appears to be evidence that we are seeing an overall increase in consumer confidence.

“As we would expect, sales of travel peaked during January, however, the surge of 233% from December is the highest month-on-month performance ever recorded for this sector.”

Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini , said: “As we settle in to a new year, with the shopping bonanza that was Christmas behind us, it is very reassuring to see such impressive results and is a clear indication that consumer confidence is being sustained. This will of course be welcomed by retailers and puts us in a very good position for a strong 2014.”

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