Figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal the e-retail market returned to double digit growth in August 2013, with online sales up 18% year-on-year; double that of the growth rate in July (9% year-on-year). This was led by a return to double-digit growth for multi-channel retailers (+17%) following a poor July when the heat-wave drove customers out to their physical stores. Sales for online-only retailers grew 19%.
Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “Consumer confidence is returning as the economy is showing signs of improvement. Increased basket values and strong growth in apparel suggest retailers are increasing full price sales taking advantage of this increase in consumer confidence and seeing a healthy return. After a slow July, August has seen a return to the levels of growth we have come to expect from online retail and has, in fact, exceeded our year-on-year growth predictions by 3% points.”
There were further signs of a recovery in consumer confidence, as sectors selling high-price products recorded strong growth. The Home and Garden sector led the way in August with 25% year-on-year growth, followed by Electricals at 18%. Clothing meanwhile grew 18% year-on-year compared to 10% in July, with the average basket value increasing by £5 year-on-year as the heavy discounting used by retailers earlier in the year has been scaled back.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “Following a weak performance in July, the UK e-retail sector recovered last month with sales growth doubling to 18%. It is evident from the strong performance in the electricals and home & garden sectors that consumers were investing in their homes and gardens during August.
“Year-to-date the IMRG Capgemini Index has recorded 15% growth compared with the same period in 2012 and, as retailers gear up for the lucrative festive trading period, we anticipate that the UK online retail sector will maintain double-digit growth during the fourth quarter – unseasonal heat-waves permitting.”