The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed a better than expected performance for online retail in November, with sales topping an estimated £10.1bn; the most the Index has ever recorded in a single month.
The Index grew 20% on the same period last year, and 30% on October’s performance (the highest monthly increase in 10 years) indicating shoppers are buying their Christmas gifts earlier than usual.
Multi-channel retailers, those with both an online and a high-street presence, reported annual growth of 23%, compared to the 16% recorded by the online only brands. This strong growth has been spurred by festive shoppers looking to their usual high street brands when shopping online.
The launch of a range of budget tablet devices, as well as the release of the new iPhone and iPad, had a significant impact on the electrical sector in November, recording a month-on-month increase of 63%; the highest monthly growth since the launch of the Index. Home and garden also recorded a particularly strong month, with annual like-for-like growth reaching 42%.
The Index revealed that conversion rates for e-retail as a whole continue to see an upward trend, with 5.24% recorded in November, the highest conversion rate since April 2009.
Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “These results are particularly strong and give a clear indication of what we can expect to see during the peak shopping weeks in December.
“E-retail continues to be the growth engine of an otherwise struggling retail sector and as online spending exceeds £10bn in one month, we can see just how integral the online and mobile channels have become to the shopping experience. With the introduction of great value tablet devices offering better accessibility than ever before, the sector is only set to rocket in 2014.”
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “While the overall Index performance was ahead of our expectations during November, it seems the strong online growth recorded by the high street retailers is being driven by the prominent promotion of their multichannel offering. We often see ‘online | mobile | in-store’ as the potential channels for engagement in retailer adverts.
“Over recent months we have seen a plethora of budget tablet devices entering the market, resulting in a rise in the number of so-called “sofa surfers”, and with the rapid adoption of these popular devices set to continue over Christmas, we are likely to see this growth trend continue next year as more consumers shift to handheld devices to shop online. Our latest research shows that just over half (51%) of UK online retailers currently have a tablet optimised website, and with tablet shoppers being more likely to make a purchase than smartphone users and also spending more per transaction, we are likely to see more retailers investing in tablet optimisation during 2014.”