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UK consumers spent £7.2bn in February, almost a fifth more than last year

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Online sales grew by almost a fifth in February as wet weather kept shoppers at home, according to the latest IMRG figures.

The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index found that UK online shoppers spent £7.2bn in February, 18% ahead of the same month last year. At the same time, m-retail grew by 66%.

As a group, online retailers saw sales lift by 22%, ahead of the 16% growth enjoyed by multichannel retailers.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG , said the figures meant that so far in 2014, ecommerce has made its strongest start to the year since 2011. “The exceptionally wet weather during February undoubtedly helped boost online sales as shoppers shunned the high street,” she said. “It is interesting to see the pureplay merchants not only outperformed the multichannel retailers in terms of year-on-year e-retail, but also recorded a 6% annual rise in average transaction value. Conversely, the average online order value for multichannel merchants remained unchanged from February last year.”

Sectors that saw strong growth included lingerie (up by 24% compared to last year) and health and beauty (+25%), thanks to the Valentine’s Day effect. Sales in the home and garden sector rose by 26%.

“Strong spending on home and garden and lingerie for Valentine’s Day show people investing in homes and relationships, further increasing the feel good factor,’ said Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini .

“The continued growth of e-retail demonstrates the overall strength of consumer confidence and leads one to believe the disappointing February overall figures are most likely a result of the wet weather.”

He added: “As a small aside, it would be nice to know if the strong increase in footwear year-on-year was caused by a surge in demand for wellies and waders; unfortunately, there some things our e-Retail Index cannot tell.”

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