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Insight: highest average January spend for online retail in seven years

New figures have shown that UK online retail sales rose by 12% year-on-year in January as the average basket value also increased.


Insight: highest average January spend for online retail in seven years

The figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index show that the average basket value for online retailers was recorded as £85 in January 2017. This was up from £79 a year earlier and was highest value for the month since January 2010. By comparison, the average in 2016 was £81.

Online sales for fashion retailers increased by 11% year-on-year although this was the lowest growth rate for the sector since March 2016. Growth for the gifts sector reached an eight-year high with sales up 62% to mark the highest growth since December 2009.

Meanwhile, online sales in the electricals sector were down for a second month running in January while the average basket value for the sector also fell.

Justin Opie, managing director of IMRG said January’s figures reveal a steady start to the year, but warned that 2017 holds challenges for online retailers.

He added: “The most pressing one relates to the devaluation of the pound following Brexit, as it means price rises are looming for an industry where retailers often get pressured into a cycle of discounting to stimulate sales activity among customers.

“One area where we may see a big impact is electricals – already having a tough time online with sales growth down 8.5% in January and the average basket tumbling. Sonos, Microsoft and Apple among others have recently announced big price hikes of 20% and over to come, so retailers in this sector may continue to have a difficult period to navigate going forward.”

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini, said: “The rise in inflation will raise caution among shoppers and with price hikes expected across petrol, electricals and food, this caution will remain for some time to come. The focus for retailers in 2017 should be on ensuring they can capture as much of the UK market share as they can, as well as exploiting international sales, should the pound weaken.”

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