Online retail sales increased by 13% between August and September 2013, the highest growth for this period in 13 years, according to figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
This is the second Index-lifetime record seen this year, following the first negative online growth ever recorded between June and July (-2%), though that was heavily influenced by the prolonged heat-wave in the UK.
Overall the Index was up 20% year-on-year in September, as online sales continue to rise ahead of expectation, driven by the increasing use of mobile devices as part of the purchase journey.
There was further positive news in the run-up to the Christmas peak period as the average basket value reached its highest point since June 2012.
The Index also revealed that almost a quarter of mobile device sales (23%) were through smartphones in September. IMRG and Capgemini split tablet and smartphone sales in August for the first time, when smartphones only accounted for 15% of mobile device sales. It is too early to identify a trend yet, but this will be monitored with interest over the coming months.
The clothing sector recorded a sharp 18% rise compared to this time last year, and the highest growth rate for this sector since June. In particular, a number of sectors recorded strong growth levels including lingerie (30%) accessories (20%) and footwear (20%). The electrical sector has also picked up in terms of year-on-year growth, following periods of low growth over the summer, the result of sales of new technologies and next generation smartphones.
Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “This month’s Index is a good indicator that we are headed towards economic recovery, and a great sign for a strong Christmas. The fact that e-retail has seen its sharpest period of growth for September suggests that consumers are shopping with confidence. In addition, September’s three year high in the average clothing basket value is a clear sign that retailers are selling through at full price, giving even more confidence to the economic recovery.”
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “The latest Index results are encouraging as we enter the fourth quarter, with retailers preparing for the crucial festive trading period. The record monthly growth in September is an indication of increasing consumer confidence and with smartphone year-on-year sales growth reaching an impressive 150%, it is also evident that shoppers are becoming more comfortable with shopping via their mobile devices. Year-to-date the UK e-retail sector has grown 16% compared with the same period in 2012 and we anticipate the sector will continue to record double-digit growth during Q4.”