Online spending growth slows.
UK consumers spent a total of £3.9billion online in September – up 1.9% compared to August this year. However, this is lower than the average month-on-month increase for September, as shoppers exercise more caution ahead of Christmas and as the recession continues to influence consumer spending. Postal strikes have also acted as a deterrent for online shoppers, and will continue to be a key concern for e-retailers in the lead up to Christmas.
Clothing, footwear and accessories sector sales stuttered, with sales rising by just 10% compared to last year (average year-on-year growth for this sector so far in 2009 has been 20%). This has impacted on overall growth rates for the Index as a whole as the sector traditionally acts as a key driving force for growth. Customers were lured away from the internet as September saw many retailers launch their promotional activity earlier this year. The high street reported an upturn in sales for the month.
Above average temperatures could have been a reason for shoppers to abandon their computer screens in favour of the high street – with the Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday falling into the September trading period this year.
E-retailers of electrical goods also saw an unusual slowdown in growth for September, with sales rising by 14% compared to last year.
Mike Petevinos, Head of Consulting for Retail at Capgemini UK, said:“The results for September show a slowdown in the growth of online spending but we view this as a temporary blip and expect growth rates to return to the 15% year on year trend we have seen over the last year. The underlying trend is still that consumers are turning to the internet to make more informed purchase decisions. Our latest stats should however act as a call to arms to multi-channel retailers, who enjoy higher basket sizes than the pure players but are not achieving the conversion rates online of their more focussed competitors. As competition increases the pressure on converting the consumers who hit your site should be a constant priority.”
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