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Online sales robust as £4.4 billion spent in April

Total online retail market up 13% on April 2009

CITY & CORPORATE

Online sales robust as £4.4 billion spent in April

Latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows that total sales online increased by 13% in April compared to last year, with shoppers splashing out on £4.4 billion worth of goods. The Index shows a 3% decline month on month, in line with seasonal trends for April when Mothering Sunday falls mid–late March.

The Index also reveals the full impact of the ash cloud in April on sales of tickets and travel online. As flights were cancelled and fears of the volcanic eruption’s long-lasting effects set in, consumers spent 9% less than in March. While sales increased by 5% year on year, this growth is lower than the market average

Temperatures and hemlines rose in April as the wedding season kicked in. Sales of clothes online soared, with a 21% increase compared to last year. There was a noticeable increase in sales towards the second half of the month when the first signs of summer started peeking through the clouds.

There was also a clear rise in the Index for beers, wines & spirits in the last 3 weeks of the month as shoppers stocked up ahead of the bank holiday weekend in early May and with heavy discounts ahead of the World Cup. This coincided with rocketing sales of home and garden products, with sales rising by 32% compared to last year, and 11% compared to March ’09.

Chris Webster, Vice President, Retail Consulting and Technology, Capgemini, said: “Online retail is seeing continued high growth levels of 13% as more and more retailers are using an online channel to attract a new market and retain existing customers. The clothing sector in particular has been given a boost by April’s early signs of summer, with shoppers logging on to update their wardrobes for the new season. This sector is driving growth behind the industry as a whole.”

Tina Spooner, Director of Information at IMRG added:  “We continued to see double-digit growth in the online retail sector during April, with the home and garden sector recording particularly strong growth of 32% year-on-year. The fine weather seems to have encouraged DIY enthusiasts and gardeners to get spending online, resulting in the average basket value for home and garden retailers soaring 64% compared to the same month last year.

“Conversely, growth in the travel sector slowed to just 5% in April, after recording yearly growth in double figures during February and March. This may be an early indication of the impact of the volcanic ash cloud on the travel industry”

Sales for retailers with both an online and store presence are up 22% compared to last year, whereas those with just an online presence have seen sales increase by only 6% on the same month in 2009. In the first quarter of 2010, sales for online only retailers have been growing below the levels seen by those with a high street as well as online presence.

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