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UK online sales hit record £10 billion

Online sales exceeded expectations last month with sales topping an estimated £10.1 billion for the first time, new figures have revealed.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

UK online sales hit record £10 billion

The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index grew 20% on the same period last year, and 30% on October’s performance, to mark the highest monthly increase in 10 years.

Multi-channel retailers, those with both an online and a high-street presence, reported annual growth of 23%, compared to the 16% recorded by the online only brands.

Sales of electrical items surged by 63% month-on-month driven by Black Friday and the launch of a range of budget tablet devices, as well as the release of the new iPhone and iPad. Home and garden also recorded a strong month, with annual like-for-like growth reaching 42%.

The Index revealed that conversion rates for online retail as a whole continue to see an upward trend, with 5.24% recorded in November, the highest conversion rate since April 2009.

Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: "These results are particularly strong and give a clear indication of what we can expect to see during the peak shopping weeks in December.

“E-retail continues to be the growth engine of an otherwise struggling retail sector and as online spending exceeds £10 billion in one month, we can see just how integral the online and mobile channels have become to the shopping experience. With the introduction of great value tablet devices offering better accessibility than ever before, the sector is only set to rocket in 2014."

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: "While the overall Index performance was ahead of our expectations during November, it seems the strong online growth recorded by the high street retailers is being driven by the prominent promotion of their multichannel offering. We often see ‘online | mobile | in-store’ as the potential channels for engagement in retailer adverts."

Spooner added that IMRG and Capgemini’s research shows that 51% of UK online retailers currently have a tablet optimised website, and with tablet use for shopping likely to rise in the coming months, she predicts that more retailers will be investing in tablet optimisation during 2014.

Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis, said: "With Christmas trade gaining momentum through the month, Johnlewis.com was up 24% on the year in November, slightly ahead of our 20% growth for the half year to date. Our mobile sales are over 100% up on the year as customers continue to change the ways in which they shop. Notable is that online now accounts for 33% of John Lewis’s overall trade, against 25% during the 2012 Christmas period."

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