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Online sales up by 18% in February: IMRG

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UK shoppers spent £8.9bn online in February, 18% more than they did a year earlier, new IMRG figures suggest.

The growth is the highest seen by the IMRG-Capgemini eRetail Sales Index since June 2015. Driving that growth were online clothing sales, up by 22% on last year – the highest increase since June 2013. Menswear was up by 31%, while accessories were up by 35%, both year-on-year. In electricals, online sales grew by 6% over the year, and fell by 17% on the previous month.

Valentine’s Day also brought higher sales, with gift sales up by 6%, year-on-year.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG said: “Following a strong performance in January, UK e-retail sales continued to accelerate last month, resulting in overall year-on-year growth of 16%, year-to-date. Although this is on the back of a relatively weak performance in Q1 2015, the latest results are impressive and are well ahead of our 11% growth forecast for 2016.

“It is evident the shift towards mobile devices continues, with smartphones accounting for over a third (34%) of mobile commerce sales during February. This is up from 24% in the same month last year, and reveals that smartphones have taken an additional 10% share of UK m-retail sales over the past year.”

Richard Tremellen, retail insight and data specialist, Capgemini , commented: “Despite overall retail sales in February being flat, online growth continues to be strong. This is particularly encouraging given average basket values were up some 11% year on year, indicating factors other than discounting are driving growth. The strong performance in clothing suggests retailer investments in breadth of range, flexible delivery and ease of returns may be paying off for this sector.

“February also saw the continued disparity between sales made via smartphones and tablet devices. While smartphones recorded a healthy 92% annual growth, sales made on tablets grew by just 11%.”

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