Highest ever monthly online sales growth fuelled by smartphone spending, MRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows


The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed that online retail sales in November recorded their highest ever month-on-month (MoM) growth since the Index launched 15 years ago – up 40%. During the Black Friday period, shoppers compensated for withheld spending in the previous month, when the Index recorded its lowest ever annual growth for the month of October.

The record-breaking spike in online sales was driven by the growth of m-retail, with purchases made via a smartphone accounting for 32% of all mobile commerce sales – a record high for these devices. Sales made on a smartphone device grew by 97% year-on-year (YoY) while purchases made on a tablet reached a record low of just 12% YoY, demonstrating a notable shift in mobile spending habits.

Electricals and gifts, sectors that would be expected to do well during the Black Friday period, both registered impressive MoM growth rates of 83% and 134% respectively. 39% of electrical sales and 40% of gift sales fell in the week of Black Friday. However, electricals registered just 5% YoY growth over the month as a whole – significantly lower than the Index growth rate of 11% – continuing what has been a disappointing year for growth in this sector.

Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital, consumer products and retail, Capgemini, said:  “It’s becoming clearer that Black Friday is the on-line retailer’s day, taking sales away from the High Street and out competing their multichannel counterparts. The significant shift to smartphones shows that those with a mobile-first strategy across the customer journey are at a distinct advantage. The results in December will tell whether the success for on-line retailers is limited to the day or the two week period.”

Tina Spooner, chief information officer, IMRG said: “The record monthly surge in e-retail sales during November suggests that consumers were holding back in October waiting for Black Friday promotions, especially as this follows the weakest-ever annual growth recorded in the Index during the month of October. Gifts and electricals were the main drivers of growth in the week leading up to Black Friday, with around 40% of sales during the month falling in this week for these sectors.

“It is evident that the shift toward mobile devices continues, with smartphones accounting for an increasing share of mobile commerce sales.  In fact, smartphones have taken an additional 10% share over the past 12 months alone, accounting for almost a third of m-retail sales in November, up from 22% in the same month last year.”

In November, online-only retailers saw sales increase 24% on the same period last year, 20 percentage points higher than that of multichannel retailers, which recorded just 4%.

Whilst the Index spans November 2015, 35% of all sales were in the final week, commencing 22 November, which included Black Friday. Note that Cyber Monday sales (30 Nov) will be included in the December figures this year.