Hot Shops List: strong performance by travel brands
As expected, this was a strong quarter for travel brands with the five fastest movers of the last three months all coming from this sector.
This quarter’s five fastest movers in the Hot Shops list were First Choice (up 37 places), Thomas Cook (+23), TravelRepublic.co.uk (+20), Thomson (+15) and Expedia (+12) all climbed in the rankings. Outside of the travel industry the fastest movers were LoveFilm.com (+10), Currys (+6), IKEA (+6) and PC World (+6).
Much like last year, it was the multi-channel travel agencies First Choice, Thomas Cook and Thomson that were the fastest-growing travel sites, although the airlines easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways all rose in the rankings too. By this measure First Choice’s decision last year to switch to purely all-inclusive holidays seems to have paid off, as the travel agency was ranked four places higher this year than in February 2011.
Post-Christmas shopping this year produced the biggest ever day of online shopping, with 96 million UK internet visits going to retail websites on Boxing Day 2011. In January it was the electronics providers and home improvements retailers that saw big increases in online traffic as consumers sought out big ticket items such as TVs, laptops, sofas, wardrobes and bathrooms. Currys, IKEA and PC World all jumped six places in the Hot Shops list since last quarter, while Homebase and Comet were also among this quarter’s rising websites.
Online-only brands also had a strong quarter. Four of the top 10 in the Hot Shops list this quarter are online-only, including fashion retailer ASOS which climbed two places to 10th position. ASOS was also one of four fashion brands including Next, New Look and Very.co.uk that improved on its position year-on-year. Video rental and streaming site LoveFilm.com climbed 10 places to 18th in the list.
Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, commented,“These figures are consistent with what we’re seeing from the IMRG Capgemini Index, where sales in January for the travel sector were up 16% year-on-year, following what was a challenging year in 2011 for the online travel industry. The story is similar for the electronics retailers as well, where growth levels remained below average for the e-retail sector throughout 2011 but returned to fairly steady double-digit growth toward the end of the year”.
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