Warm weather in April boosts online sales
Beer, wine and spirits performed well during the month with a 19% increase in online sales compared to April last year, and a monthly growth of 18%. This follows a poor performance in Q1 when growth was 3%. The Travel sector also put in a good performance, increasing 16% year-on-year.
However, the electricals sector declined for the first time since July 2011, falling 3% year-on-year with the average basket value at £167. The disappointing performance follows a very strong April 2012 when the launch of the iPad 3 created a ‘Halo’ effect on the wider sector, spurring shoppers to splash out on other electrical goods.
The figures reveal what IMRG and Capgenmini say is a continuing trend between online-only retailers and those who have both an online and physical presence on the high-street. While online retailers saw growth of 20% year-on-year in April, multi-channel retailers recorded growth of just 14%. IMRG and Capgemini put this down to shoppers’ increasing confidence in the internet as a transaction medium as a result of the growing adoption of new technologies and services by online-only retailers.
The M-Commerce Index revealed that growth in sales via mobile devices is slowing, from 243% year-on-year in March to 131% (excluding travel) in April.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: "Now that the green shoots of economic recovery have arrived with a (now distant) spell of sunshine, the momentum of online shopping in Q2 is even more evident. The solid Index performance in April is ahead of our 12% e-retail growth forecast for 2013, resulting in average growth of 15% year-to-date. We expect UK.com to continue to dominate the retail picture as the recovery gathers greater momentum."
Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and Technology at Capgemini, added: "April’s results revealed the influence the shift in temperature and school holidays can have one the retail sector. With the holiday period falling at the start of April and warm weather following in the second half, we have seen uplifts in holidays, home & garden, alcohol and apparel driving the Index.
"Although sales via mobile devices are slowing, the sector continues to grow as retailers invest in the technology to personalise the shopping experience. A rise in conversion rates suggests that consumers are using mobile devices to research and purchase goods online while on the move."
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