According to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, online retail sales were up 37% month-on-month in November. The figure represents the largest October-November increase in the 14 year history of the Index. Online sales also increased by 20% compared to November 2013 – the biggest year-on-year growth rate in 2014 so far. Excluding Travel, growth was even more impressive at 22% year-on-year and 45% month-on-month.
Year-to-date, online retail sales are up 15% and following a strong start to December with Cyber Monday, this figure is expected to reach 16% at the end of the year, in line with IMRG and Capgemini’s 2014 growth forecast.
Overall, an estimated £12.1bn was spent online in November, with an average basket value, excluding Travel, of £78.
The record-breaking spike in online sales in November can in part be attributed to this year’s Black Friday’s sales success, with sales up 44% in the week commencing 23 November alone, compared with the previous week. November also saw the highest conversion rate of 2014 at 5.3%, suggesting that online shopping was more purposeful than usual.
Mobile commerce (including sales via smartphones and tablets) continued to grow in November, up 48% month-on-month and 80% compared to the same time last year. During the last week of the month sales via smartphones and tablets surged 82% from the previous week, almost double the rate of overall e-retail sales growth.
The best performing sectors in November includes Gifts, which grew 154% month-on-month, Health and Beauty, up 99% month-on-month, and Electricals, up 71% month-on-month and 22% year-on-year. These figures also represent the strongest increase for these sectors between October and November in the history of the index.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “The unprecedented level of traffic to retail websites over Black Fridayweekend resulted in a significant spike in online sales during the last week of November. In fact, sales on Black Friday alone surged 135% year-on-year as consumers flocked to retail websites on what turned out to be the busiest online shopping day of the year, to date. Many retailers reported that Black Friday was their biggest ever day for online sales, however some reported a slowdown in sales in the days leading up to Black Friday as consumers waited for discounts and promotions before starting their Christmas shopping. Consequently, last month we saw the steepest ever October to November growth in the 14-year history of the Index, with sales up 37% month-on-month.
“Although average spend per shopper was down about 9% from the previous month, overall estimated spend reached a staggering £12.1bnin November and it looks like we are on target for another record-breaking Christmas with estimated spend set to break the £100bn barrier by the end of this year.”
Adgild Hop, principal, head of retail consulting at Capgemini: “The mania around Black Friday has clearly driven profound sales results in November, in particular in typical ‘Christmas gift’ categories such as gifts, beauty and electronics. We will need to await the December and January results to determine whether this has been truly incremental or merely earlier (and potentially lower margin) sales.”
“In light of the fulfilment challenges that the industry has suffered post-Black Friday, we will also be eagerly holding our breath as to whether retailers can indeed fulfil the increased home delivery and click&collect volumes for Christmas. Few things would be more damaging to loyalty than broken promises at this time of year…”
Neil Sansom, e-commerce director at Moss Bros, said: “Black Friday was our biggest ever day for online sales at Moss Bros and it surpassed Cyber Monday, which we were expecting to be bigger, and even last years’ Boxing Day sales. Black Friday demand at Moss Bros was over 200% up on the year and we can only see this getting larger in future years, as the UK consumer has now embraced the American Black Friday tradition.”