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Easter and election influence online sales growth in April

  • Online retail sales up +13.9% in April
  • Growth on March below expectation
  • Election likely to be influencing shopper behaviour

UK online retail sales were up +13.9% year-on-year (YoY) in April, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. While on the surface this represents solid growth, it was only up +4.3% on March when a higher rate might have been expected (due to the timing of Easter this year – falling in April, whereas it was in March in 2016).

Beers, wines & spirits usually does well in the month that features Easter and this year sales growth was up +28.9%, a six-year high. For clothing, sales growth was up +10.5% – again this is solid enough, but it tracks below recent performance and both menswear and womenswear experienced negative growth; at -7% and -5% respectively.

A key factor in April's below-expectation performance could be the announcement of the general election. Data around previous election years indicates a strong correlation between elections and a dip in clothing and footwear growth in the month leading up to the vote.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principle consultant in retail customer engagement design, Capgemini: “A YoY growth of just 13.9% in a month that also included Easter is yet another sign of slowdown within the retail industry. This is also demonstrated in the MoM increase of only 4.3% – again, despite the falling of Easter – where April is always a strong month. The slowdown is further proved through investigating the clothing sector, which increased 10.5% on the year, but showed the slowest YoY April growth rate for 6 years. Similarly, while Beers, Wines & Spirits increased 29% on the year, which is likely thanks to the Easter effect, the combined performance of March and April this year versus last (to consume Easter variance) only shows an increase of 9% on the year. All in all the next few months at least will remain a challenge for retail as consumer confidence is impacted by political and economic factors.”

Justin Opie, managing director, IMRG: “It may seem odd to regard growth of +13.9% as disappointing, but taking the other factors into consideration we can identify some indications of suppressed growth potentially linked to shopper confidence. Looking at historical data, it seems that elections exert an influence on spending patterns and we may expect that to continue into May due to the uncertainty that comes with these events. We then enter the period of official Brexit negotiations with the EU, when the progress of those discussions will likely be reflected in shopper behaviour. That could be a period of considerable turbulence for retailers due to the potential for currency fluctuations, shifting shopper confidence and rising inflation.”

-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.  

Over one hundred e-retailers regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index.

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

With more than 190,000 people, Capgemini is present in over 40 countries and celebrates its 50th Anniversary year in 2017. A global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services, the Group reported 2016 global revenues of EUR 12.5 billion. Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business, technology and digital solutions that fit their needs, enabling them to achieve innovation and competitiveness. A deeply multicultural organization, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model.

Learn more about us at www.capgemini.com

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