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Beast from the East Sees UK Warm to Online Retail as Sales Grow 13.1% in February

 

  • Extreme weather drives a growth spike for last week of February
  • Conversion rates at 4.2%, down from 4.6% this time last year
  • Health & Beauty up by +33.85% year-on-year, highest growth in 5 years

LONDON UK – March 23, 2018: UK online retail sales were up +13.1% year-on-year (YoY) in February, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. With the Beast from the East hitting the UK in the last week of February, the cold weather saw shoppers turn online in their droves, driving a +3.5% lift in sales compared to the previous week. This continues 2018’s positive start, with overall year-on-year growth averaging 13.5% year-to-date.

Despite the strong sales however, the overall market conversion rate (the percentage of site visitors that complete a purchase) was 4.2%, down from 4.6% last year. The conversion rates for both multichannel and online retailers also came in lower than February 2017. However, the average basket value (ABV) rose by £11 in comparison to last February. Meanwhile, smartphone growth remained strong at +38.5% on last year, but is certainly slowing when compared to the +57% growth of last year. Tablets, on the other hand, continued their now 4-month long decline trend, decreasing -6.7% year-on-year, a record low for this device type.

Some sectors performed notably well this February. Health & Beauty grew by +33.85% year-on-year – its highest growth in the last 5 years. In addition, Clothing continues to show strong year-on-year growth, up +14.9%, with accessories and footwear the top performers within this at +22.3% and +20.4% respectively.  Finally Gifts also grew by a strong +9% year-on-year, a significant improvement on last year’s -3.3%.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini: “February’s sales patterns clearly demonstrate the power of extreme weather on shopping habits; as people avoid the high street in favour of cosier shopping from their well-heated living rooms. As the snowy weather continued well into March we anticipate a continuation of this trend in next month’s results. We’d also draw attention to the performance of the US retail market, which has just reported its third consecutive month of falling sales. As the US market is often seen as ahead of the UK’s this could foreshadow a similar trend in the coming months. Fortunately for internet retailers, the US reported +1% online sales growth.”

Justin Opie, managing director, IMRG: “Over the course of many years, the overall conversion rate for online retailers crept up very slowly but this has stalled recently and has now actually been in decline for three consecutive months. This suggests that shoppers are spending more time browsing, potentially across a greater range of sites, before making a final purchase decision and that may well be true, but a clear influencing factor is a shift in the devices people are using for shopping. In Q4, 32% of online retail purchases were completed on smartphones (the rest were through desktops and tablets) – these devices tend to have lower conversion rates due to a variety of reasons, particularly how much more susceptible users are to being distracted when using them.”

-ENDS-

About the ‘IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’

The IMRG Capgemini Index, which was started in April 2000, tracks 'online sales', which we define as 'transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels' from any location, including in-store. 

About IMRG

For over 20 years, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) has been the voice of e-retail in the UK. We are a membership community comprising businesses of all sizes – multichannel and pureplay, SME and multinational, and solution providers to industry. We support our members through a range of activities – including market tracking and insight, benchmarking and best practice sharing. Our indexes provide in-depth intelligence on online sales, mobile sales, delivery trends and over 40 additional KPIs. Our goal is to ensure our members have the information and resources they need to succeed in rapidly-evolving markets – both domestically and internationally. www.imrg.org 

About Capgemini

A global leader in consulting, technology services and digital transformation, Capgemini is at the forefront of innovation to address the entire breadth of clients’ opportunities in the evolving world of cloud, digital and platforms. Building on its strong 50-year heritage and deep industry-specific expertise, Capgemini enables organizations to realize their business ambitions through an array of services from strategy to operations. Capgemini is driven by the conviction that the business value of technology comes from and through people. It is a multicultural company of 200,000 team members in over 40 countries. The Group reported 2017 global revenues of EUR 12.8 billion.

Learn more about us at www.capgemini.com.

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