The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that shoppers in the UK spent a total of £4.9 billion online during February, equivalent to £79[1] per person; 20% more than the same period last year.

In stark contrast to recent reports that indicated the high street suffered its weakest sales growth for two years, British consumers have spent £10 billion online during January and February, far exceeding earlier expectations.

The Index also suggested that many New Year’s resolutions and detox diets have fallen by the wayside, as sales in alcohol saw a massive increase in February as Brits stock up ahead of the expected increase in duty in the Budget later this month. Alcohol sales leapt 37% on January and up 25% on February 2010. 
The clothing sector also saw a significant rise, with year-on-year growth reaching 34%; perhaps a result of Brits looking to ditch their thick winter wardrobes as the UK experienced the mildest February since 2002.[2]

Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini says: “February was a good month for online retail, up 20% on the same period last year. This increase is on the back of a very solid second half to 2010 and whilst some of the growth can be attributed to a weak start last year, nearly £5 billion spent online is very significant and in stark contrast to the weak sales experienced by the traditional bricks and mortar retailers.”
Tina Spooner, Director of Information at IMRG comments: “The February Index results paint an optimistic picture for the e-retail market, especially when compared with the poor performance of traditional retail sales last month. UK shoppers spent a staggering £10bn online during January and February, a clear indicator of how strong consumer confidence is in the online channel even during a period in which high street spending is down.”

February IMRG figures

Industry quotes
Jonathon Brown, head of online selling at John Lewis, said:
February was another strong month for as we moved from the extreme highs of peak trading and Clearance into the transition of new ranges for Spring/Summer 2011. Overall sales were up over 22% on the year with all our directorates exceeding expectations and performing well above 2010.

“Fashion led the way outperforming 2010 by over 50%. There were notable sales from womenswear which was up over 70% with outstanding performances from Hobbs, LK Bennet and Kaliko. It was also great to see accessories and beauty exceed last year’s sales by over 70% and women’s shoes selling particularly well. Home had a very strong month with sales +17% on the year with great performances across the directorate. In particular we have continued to see outstanding reaction to our new lighting ranges as well as cooking and dining which had a great run this month beating last year by over 20%. Last but not least, our electricals department continued to build on its outstanding performance in the last year (2010/11) with a very strong opening to the new trading year (2011/12) as it beat last year by 20% with all areas selling well.”

Phillip Rinn, Director of Advertising Partnerships at eBay Advertising, comments:
That UK online shopping spend broke the £10bn barrier by the end of February highlights how resilient the UK e-commerce market has become. With low consumer confidence and the rise in VAT leading to nervy New Year  forecasts being issued about the traditional UK high street, online retailers are still in a position to announce strong sales and remain one of the primary drivers of growth in an uncertain retail market. Shoppers are voting with their feet: the online retail market is seemingly resilient to the challenges facing the traditional retail landscape so brands need to make sure they have a strong presence online to capitalise on this shift in consumer behaviour.”

Russ Carroll, UK managing director of, says:
February continues the trend of strong year-on-year growth, with figures showing growth at over 20%. We’re positive that consumer confidence in purchasing from online sites that they trust is linked to the reduction in credit cards fraud levels, reportedly at the lowest for 10 years. People feel safer transacting and spending more online, as there are so many fraud safeguards in place now.”

Cameron McLean, general manager for merchant services at PayPal UK, said:
February’s 20% increase in year on year sales growth demonstrates the increasing appetite for consumers for online shopping. The PayPal UK Online Retail Report shows that two thirds of online shoppers believe their money goes further online, an increase of 8.5 million people on the previous year’s research.
Clothing sales have been a big contributor to growth, with IMRG‘s figures estimating that a huge £4.9 billion was spent online in February. Clothing sales have climbed significantly on last year and PayPal’s research has found that 30% of the most frequent shoppers now buy all or most of their clothing and footwear online, and over half of online shoppers now buy at least some of their clothes over the internet.”

Notes to Editors
About IMRG
IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the industry association for global e-retail. Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-retail standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. Consumers can be confident when dealing with IMRG Members because all interact in an environment where they are encouraged to operate using methods that are Honest, Decent, Legal, Truthful and Fair, and have undertaken to not bring the industry into disrepute. The strength of IMRG is the collective and cooperative power of its members. For more information please visit or email

About Capgemini
Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, enables its clients to transform and perform through technologies. Capgemini provides its clients with insights and capabilities that boost their freedom to achieve superior results through a unique way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM. The Group relies on its global delivery model called Rightshore®, which aims to get the right balance of the best talent from multiple locations, working as one team to create and deliver the optimum solution for clients. Present in more than 30 countries, Capgemini reported 2009 global revenues of EUR 8.4 billion and employs 90,000 people worldwide.
More information is available at
Rightshore® is a trademark belonging to Capgemini

About the ‘IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’
The IMRG Capgemini Index, which was started in April 2000, tracks ‘online sales’, which we define as ‘transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels’ from any location, including in-store.  These sales are predominantly internet-based today, but the Index remains ready to record e-retail sales conducted via whatever interactive channels the market may embrace in the future.

Around one hundred e-retailers now regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Amara, Arcadia Group (Burton, Top Man, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Miss Selfridge), Ask Direct,,,,, Blacks,,, Boots Direct,Brora,,, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt,  Clarks, Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative Travel,,, Damart, Debenhams, Dobbies,, Ethical Superstore,, Firebox, First Choice, Freemans Grattan Holdings, Furniture123, Game, Gameplay, Gamestation, Getting,,, Home & Cook, House of Fraser, JD Sports, J D Williams, John Lewis Partnership,,, LK Bennett,, M and M Direct, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Millets, Monster Travel, Musto, My Tuxedo, Naked Wines,, New Look, Next, Peacocks, Perfect Handbags,, Philip Kingsley, PIXmania,, QVC, R C Roland, Redfoot Revolution, Richer Sounds, Rubber Sole, Sainsbury’s, Scales Express,, Shop Direct Home Shopping, Schuh, Serenata Flowers, Shedstore,, Sofa and Home,,, Tesco Electrical, The Fragrance Shop, The Health Supermarket, The Natural Store, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Vie at Home, Waitrose & Wilkinson Hardware.

1. Calculation by 4.9 billion, divided by 61,838,154 (
2. ews/newsid_9413000/9413066.stm