Growth of online clothing sales doubles in August, IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveals

Latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index has revealed that the UK online retail sector has experienced its strongest level of annual growth since November 2013, recording a year-on-year increase of 18% in August.

An estimated £8.1bn was spent online, with much of the growth driven by a particularly impressive performance from the clothing sector, which saw an annual growth of 20%; double the growth that was recorded in June and July (10%). The accessories sub-sector saw an even greater increase, a significant 60% year-on-year, which could be attributed to shoppers splashing out on last-minute holiday essentials during the holiday high-season.

With so many Brits packing up and heading to sunnier climes over August, other sectors experienced a far less positive performance, such as the home subsector, which recorded a disappointing 1% increase on the same period last year.

A sector that fared much better last month is electricals. After a surprising dip in June, online sales rose to a very solid 19% in July and have continued at the same level in August, boosted by the recent surge in purchases of high-powered vacuum cleaners, following an EU directive banning models of more than 1,600 watts.

Andrew McClelland, chief policy and operations officer at IMRG, said: “A cold spell during August combined with the launch of Autumn/Winter 2014 clothing ranges boosted e-retail growth. Interestingly, the High Street brands continued to perform particularly strongly with Electrical sales vying for the top spot this month. Overall Index growth of 18% sees us on target to exceed the earlier expectations of growth for 2014. A £100bn year is certain to be exceeded in 2014.”

Alex Smith-Bingham, vice president, digital services leader, Capgemini, said: “August’s results revealed a real spark in the confidence of the British consumer, with an increase in spend on clothing accessories, such as sandals and other holiday essentials, but a drop in the staycation spend on the home. It will be interesting to see whether there will be a significant uptick in little luxuries around the home during the autumn months now the majority of holidaymakers have returned home.