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Online retail sales rise by 6% in February

Online retail sales grew by 6% year-on-year in February as categories such as health and beauty, lingerie, and gifts performed well due to Valentine’s Day.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Online retail sales rise by 6% in February

Online retail sales grew by 6% year-on-year in February as categories such as health and beauty, lingerie, and gifts performed well due to Valentine’s Day.

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed that online sales were slow compared to February 2014 when there was a rise of 18%. February’s 6% rise follows a 7% increase in January.  

Online clothing sales were up just 4% year-on-year, compared to 20% in February 2014, but other sectors performed more positively. Valentine’s Day helped boost sales in the sectors traditionally associated with romantic presents, including gifts which grew by 30% month-on-month and 28% year-on-year. Similarly, the lingerie and health and beauty sectors saw a year-on-year jump of 22% and 19% respectively.  

The alcohol sector also enjoyed strong growth in February with online sales surging 42% on the same period last year; the highest annual increase recorded for this sector since April 2011.  

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “It is interesting to see that the high street/multichannel retailers have seen a stronger start to 2015 than their online-only counterparts, with online retail sales up 8% year-to-date, while the latter group have recorded just 2% year-on-year growth. 

“However, looking at the mobile commerce performance of these two groups, it is clear that the pureplay merchants are ahead, with annual growth in sales via smartphones and tablets reaching an average of 89% over the past six months, almost three times the growth rate recorded by the multichannel retailers.”  

Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital, consumer products and retail at Capgemini, added: “February’s Index would suggest there has been little cheer to be had for retailers so far this year. Subsequent months will show whether this is a new pattern of steady muted growth or a blip. 

“As we move into spring and out of the cold winter months, shoppers will be keen to update their wardrobes and make the most of the new clothing lines being introduced. As long as online retailers are prepared to make the most of the opportunity, we should see a gradual uplift begin in March.”

 

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