THE RETAIL BULLETIN - The home of retail news
Department Stores
Shopping Centres & Retail Parks
Home & DIY
Health & Beauty
General Merchandise
Sports & Leisure
The Papers
Retail Solutions
Food & Drink
As the e-retail market rebounds, mobile sales record extraordinary growth

£5.8 billion spent online during March with year-on-year increase of 14% and 9% growth on February.


As the e-retail market rebounds, mobile sales record extraordinary growth

£5.8 billion spent online during March with year-on-year increase of 14% and 9% growth on February.

UK consumers spent £5.8 billion online in March, the equivalent of £114 per person, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This equates to a year-on-year growth of 14% for the e-retail sector and a 9% increase on February.

With more and more tech-savvy Brits using smartphones and tablets fitted with sophisticated applications, shopping via mobile devices is becoming an important driver of online shopping. As a result, m-retail has recorded huge growth, up a staggering 254% on March 2011 and averaging 300% year-on-year growth for Q1 2012.

Interestingly, the conversion rates for mobile (those shoppers that visit a retail site via a mobile device and make a purchase from it) remains very low – 0.7% in Q1 2011, increasing to 1.4% in Q1 2012, compared to 4.13% in March for traditional online website visitor conversions. This strongly suggests that shoppers are primarily using mobile devices to browse for goods on the move, compare prices in-store or use functions such as store locators. All the mobile figures are taken from the m-Retail Sales Index, which runs in parallel with the main Index and has been launched this month.

The performance of the e-retail sector adds to an increasing disparity with the high-street, which has continued to struggle. The overall online market saw a 13% year-on-year growth during the first quarter of 2012, confirming our earlier estimates for the year and a positive indication that the market is doing well in spite of the economy.

March was given a major boost by the sunny start to spring , which saw fashion-conscious Brits updating their wardrobes, resulting in growth of 15% year-on-year and a steep 23% month-on-month rise in the clothing sector.

Mothering Sunday was another key driver in March’s strong performance. The gifts sector in particular saw the benefits of shoppers jumping online to buy presents for mum, leaping 48% year-on-year. Similarly, the health & beauty sector, which includes perfumes and other toiletries, saw a respectable increase of 19% on February.

Andy Mulcahy, Head of Communications at IMRG, said: “We are very pleased to have broken out our m-Retail Index this month for the first time and, as already indicated by our Quarterly Benchmarking Index, the growth rates are exceptionally high at the moment. Although confidence in the mobile channel is obviously growing, the average conversion rate of just 1% is far lower than that of total e-retail. This may be partly influenced by the context in which mobile engagement can occur, with consumers comparing prices in-store or using store locators on the move for example.

“For the e-retail market as a whole, the first quarter has come in at 13% growth which is exactly in line with our forecast for the year. This is very positive news as the growth rates for Q1 in 2011 were very strong so the market is performing well against a high base.”

Sean McKee, Head of Ecommerce and Customer Services, Schuh: “At Schuh we are seeing a truly dynamic performance from both smart phone and tablet and consider all things “mobile” to be fundamental to our efforts to broaden customer choice. We believe that the benchmarking and pooling of performance data is good for the industry and ultimately good for the consumer, so it is with real enthusiasm that we are participating in the m-Retail Sales index. We look forward to the first report!”

Kenneth Ball, IT Director at Schuh, will participate in a Panel Discussion and Interactive Q & A Session: In-Store Technology Engagement In 2014 at the Retail Bulletin’s InStore Engagement Conference 2012. The event is supported by IMRG.
Click here for further details and registration.

Email this article to a friend

You need to be logged in to use this feature.

Please log in here

Subscribe For Retail News


Customer Engagement Conference 2019
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
5 June 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 10th Annual Retail Customer Engagement Conference
The HR Summit 2019
The HR Summit 2019
8 October 2019
Hallam Conference Centre, London W1W 6JJ
The 11th HR Summit 2019, Hallam Conference Centre, 44 Hallam St, Marylebone, London W1W 6JJ
AI in Retail Conference 2019
AI in Retail Conference 2019
16 October 2019
Cavendish Conference Center, London W1G 9DT
Digitally native competitors and demanding customers are forcing a new perspective in retail. AI and machine learning can help you step up to the challenges; and some ‘small and beautiful’ solutions can increase your conversion rates within just a few weeks.
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2020
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2020
5 February 2020
Cavendish Conference Centre, London WG1 9DT
A truly omnichannel offering requires an understanding of customer behaviour across all shopping channels and how this should impact your overall business strategy