The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index has revealed online sales growth of +16% year-on-year (YoY) in September. The September performance tops off a strong quarter, with the Index recording the highest quarterly growth (+17%) since Q1 2014, and notably coinciding with the period following Brexit.
The weather in September was warm, presenting a challenge for fashion retailers as they start promoting their autumn and winter ranges. Despite this, sales growth for the clothing sector maintained what has been a generally positive performance so far in 2016, up a solid +15% – although this was the lowest YoY growth for this sector since April 2016.
The home and garden sector also continued its trend of improved performance, up +21% YoY in September and marking 11 consecutive months of positive growth. The prolonged period of warm weather over late summer may have contributed to the sector recording +24% growth year-to-date (Jan – Sep) – this compares with a decline of -5% over the same period in 2015.
Justin Opie, managing director, at IMRG: “The growth for Q3 2016 was the strongest quarterly growth we have recorded in two-and-a-half years – although it was building on a lower base of 9.6% during the same period last year. Nonetheless, online sales growth post-Brexit has remained strong – this may in part have been driven by increases in international shoppers buying from retailers’ .co.uk sites, so they can pay in sterling and get maximum benefit from the sharp shifts in currency we have seen over the past few months.”
Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in retail customer engagement design, Capgemini, said: “It’s encouraging to see that consumer confidence remains strong. However, a weak pound and an action plan on the horizon for Brexit is cause for concern and could well have a negative effect on confidence. Across the sectors fashion did not perform as strongly as recent months, impacted by a warm and relatively dry September which certainly dampened autumn and winter sales. Interestingly, beyond the traditional sectors that we monitor for, we’ve noticed that food performed strongly as the price war between the grocers intensifies.”