• Online bargain hunters spent £5.2 billion in October
  • Christmas orders are placed early with a 76% increase in sales of gifts on September

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that shoppers in the UK spent a total of £5.2 billion online during October (year-on-year growth of 23%), equivalent to £851 per person. This is the highest October growth since pre-recession levels.

Beating expectations and trumping sales on the high street, sales so far this year have grown by 17% compared to the same period in 2009, with shoppers spending £46 billion online since January.

The 33% increase for the clothing sector is the highest year on year growth in 2010 for this sector, as Britons splash out on Christmas party outfits and presents for friends and family. The gifts sector grew by a huge 76% in October compared to September, indicative of the start of the Christmas buying surge and a trend seen in previous years. As people rushed to finish off home improvements before Christmas, the home and garden sector grew 22% compared to the previous month.

Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini says: “The market continues to grow ahead of our expectations and this is a crucial time for e-retailers to beat the competition by using innovative strategies and tactical promotions in the run up to Christmas. The web is consistently seen as the place to go for bargains and retailers with an online presence should use this to their advantage.”

Tina Spooner, director of information at IMRG, comments: “October was another strong month for online retailers, with Britons spending £1 billion more online than the same month last year. Sales of clothing were particularly strong with this sector consistently outperforming the total e-retail market during 2010. As retailers gear up for the lucrative festive trading period, the evidence from the Index suggests those with a strong online presence will reap the rewards over the coming months”.

IMRG statistics

Sales for multichannel retailers (those with an online as well as a high street presence) continued to grow at a faster pace than online only retailers; growth was 28% and 16% respectively. An estimated £3.1 billion was spent online through multichannel retailers in October, and £2.1 billion spent at online only retailers.

Industry quotes
Mark Lewis, CEO of Collect+:
These statistics seem to show that consumers are trying to spread the cost of Christmas over several paychecks and increasingly going online to help reduce the cost, which is helping e-retailers avoid a predicted dip in consumer confidence. However, there remain some difficulties ahead for online and multichannel retailers. A strike ballot by Royal Mail managers this month could herald significant disruption over the busiest shopping and delivery period. Retailers need to ensure they are able to still get gifts to people in spite of any disruption and offer their customers sufficient choice to pick a delivery or returns service that will remain reliable and get presents to them in time for Christmas.” 
John Smith CEO of GettingPersonal.co.uk:
 “October has seen our number of visitors increased by over 35 per cent YOY, with a steady increase of Christmas related traffic starting to dominate. Our analysis shows that customers are looking early for unique and original Christmas gift ideas that don’t cost huge prices. We strive to deliver what our customers really want and combined with excellent customer service and a fantastic product portfolio, this growth is set to continue through the Christmas period and into 2011.”
Phillip Rinn, Director of Advertising Partnerships at eBay UK and EMEA:
As online shopping accelerates in the run-up to Christmas, retail sites are a great platform for advertisers wanting to benefit from an engaged audience of consumers in a purchase-mindset. With the latest IMRG Capgemini Index showing that online shoppers spent £5.2bn throughout October, it’s clear the internet is now often the first port of call for a range of essential purchases. Interestingly, Christmas gift purchases have increased by 76% on last month’s figures and at eBay Advertising we allow brands to reach very specific audiences of online shoppers who are in search of that perfect gift. Our in-depth customer insights mean we can help brands navigate the online high street and rapidly react to changes in consumer behaviour, to ensure the right customers get the right message at the right time.”

For further information please contact:
Flora Hancox – 020 7025 6576 (

Andrew Nankervis – 020 7025 6465 (


Notes to Editors
About IMRG
IMRG (Interactive Media In Retail Group) is the industry body 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 have committed 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 co-operative power of its members.

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 www.capgemini.com.
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.

Over 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), ASOS.com, Beautique.com, BeCheeky.com, Binends.com, Blacks, Boden.co.uk, Boohoo.com, Boots Direct, British Bookshops & Stationers, Brora, Buyagift.com, BuyItDirect.co.uk, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt,  Clarks, Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative Travel, Crocus.co.uk, Dabs.com, Damart, Debenhams, Dobbies, e-flowersUK.co.uk, Ethical Superstore, Figleaves.com, Firebox, First Choice, Freemans Grattan Holdings, Furniture123, Game, Gameplay, Gamestation, Getting Personal.co.uk, GreatValueJewellery.com, Greenfingers.com, Holiday Extras, Home & Cook, House of Fraser, JD Sports, J D Williams, John Lewis Partnership, Ladderstore.com, Lastminute.com, Lighting-Direct, LK Bennett, Lookfantastic.com, M and M Direct, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, Millets, Monster Travel, Musto, My Tuxedo, Naked Wines, NaturalCollection.com, New Look, Next, Peacocks, Perfect Handbags, PetPlanet.co.uk, Philip Kingsley, PIXmania, Prezzybox.com, QVC, R C Roland, Redfoot Revolution, Richer Sounds, Rubber Sole, Rubicon Healthcare, Sainsbury’s, Scales Express, Shoe-Shop.com, Shop Direct Home Shopping, Schuh, Serenata Flowers, Shedstore, Slurp.co.uk, Sofa and Home, Sunshine.co.uk, Tesco.com, Tesco Electrical, The Fragrance Shop, The Health Supermarket, The Natural Store, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Vie at Home, Waitrose, Wallace Sacks & Wilkinson Hardware.

 1 Calculation by 5.2 billion, divided by 61,414,062 (www.google.com/publicdata)