New figures: quarter following Brexit vote sees strongest online sales growth since Q1 2014
New figures have revealed that online sales grew by 16% year-on-year in September despite the warmer weather presenting a challenge for fashion retailers promoting their autumn and winter ranges.
The data from IMRG Capgemini’s eRetail Sales Index shows that September’s performance topped off a strong quarter, with the Index recording the highest quarterly growth at 17% since the first quarter of 2014.
Justin Opie, managing director at IMRG, said: “The growth for Q3 2016 was the strongest quarterly growth we have recorded in two-and-a-half years – although it was building on a lower base of 9.6% during the same period last year. Nonetheless, online sales growth post-Brexit has remained strong – this may in part have been driven by increases in international shoppers buying from retailers’ .co.uk sites, so they can pay in sterling and get maximum benefit from the sharp shifts in currency we have seen over the past few months.”
Despite the unseasonably warm weather, sales growth for the clothing sector maintained what has been a generally positive performance so far in 2016, with growth of 15%. However, this was the lowest year-on-year growth for the sector since April 2016.
The home and garden sector also continued its trend of improved performance, with sales up 21% in September to mark 11 consecutive months of growth. The prolonged period of warm weather over late summer may have contributed to the sector recording 24% growth from January to September compared with a decline of 5% over the same period in 2015.
Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini, added: “It’s encouraging to see that consumer confidence remains strong. However, a weak pound and an action plan on the horizon for Brexit is cause for concern and could well have a negative effect on confidence. Across the sectors fashion did not perform as strongly as recent months, impacted by a warm and relatively dry September which certainly dampened autumn and winter sales. Interestingly, beyond the traditional sectors that we monitor for, we’ve noticed that food performed strongly as the price war between the grocers intensifies.”
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