Online retail sales exceeded expectations in December, with the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index recording 18 per cent year-on-year growth as a result of British shoppers spending £11 billion online – up from £9 billion spent in December 2012.
This performance caps what has been a very positive year for the Index, which recorded a total of £91 billion spent online. The Index increased 16 per cent over the 12 months, far exceeding IMRG and Capgemini’s original forecast of 12 per cent. It is now estimated that e-retail accounts for 21 per cent of the total retail market.
Much of this success can be attributed to the growing influence of m-retail in 2013, with sales via mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) increasing 138 per cent on 2012. As with the wider e-retail sector, a strong year for m-retail was topped by a very strong performance during December, with 27 per cent of all online sales coming from a mobile device, equating to £3 billion. This is twice as much spent during the same time the year before.
According to the index, 82 per cent of mobile sales came from tablet devices. However, smartphones saw sales increase 186 per cent in 2013, compared to an equally impressive 131 per cent via tablet devices.
This strong performance in December was recorded across the index and not limited to just one particular sector. Clothing and electrical goods recorded particularly solid results, with a year-on-year increase of 17 per cent in clothing and 18 per cent in electricals, fuelled by the popularity of new budget tablet devices, iPhone models and gaming platforms.
The increase in m-commerce has been supported by the growth of services such as click/reserve and collect, which have taken a prominent role in the shopping cycle. According to the index, purchasing/reserving online and collecting in store, now accounts for 25 per cent of multichannel retailers’ sales. Multi-channel retailers, those with both an online and high-street presence, recorded a month-on-month growth of 16 per cent in December.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG said: “With online shopping having become part of our everyday lives, the growth levels we are seeing in the e-retail market won’t be slowing down any time soon. We predict that the UK online retail market will achieve 17 per cent year-on-year growth during 2014 and we also expect the £100bn threshold will be broken, with a staggering £107 billion predicted to be spent online in the UK alone this year.”