Online sales growth back to double-digits in April
April sales were up 4% month-on-month which was a marked shift from the flat monthly growth seen between March and April, and the highest recorded by the index for the period since 2007. The month also saw the highest conversion rate to date in 2015 at 4.6%.
Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital, consumer products and retail at Capgemini, said: “Today’s figures show a return to form for online retail. Shoppers are clearly more confident than ever and in the run up to the general election were feeling upbeat about their prospects for the future. The fact that conversion rates were so high goes to show that people weren’t just window shopping – they were going online ready to spend. With the economy continuing to improve I’m confident that online retail is on the up.”
Improvements in average temperatures appeared to boost clothing sales which rose by 15% to record their best performance in 2015 so far. The travel sector also continued to perform well in April – up 20% year-on-year – as people looked to book their summer holidays.
Mobile continued to drive overall online sales growth. April’s figures show that mobile sales increased by 52% year-on-year and by 8% on March.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “The return to double-digit growth during April has resulted in overall growth of 9% year-to-date for the UK online retail market. Although this is still below our 2015 growth forecast of 12%, a number of sectors continue to outperform the total market including footwear, lingerie and accessories. The latest results also reveal that online browsers converted at the highest rate for April since 2009 – helping to fuel the 3.9% month-on-month rise between March and April, where the established trend is for flat growth.”
A separate survey of IMRG members has revealed that UK retailers believe a number of factors influenced the slowdown in e-retail growth during the first quarter of 2015 including market maturity, increased competition, less discounting resulting in consumers holding out for sales and promotions and also political and economic uncertainty.
Spooner added: “It is too early to say whether the single-digit growth recorded during Q1 was merely a blip and we will be monitoring developments very closely over the coming months.”
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