• Online bargain hunters spent £6.4 billion in November
  • Christmas shopping in full swing as November sees a 123% month-on-month increase in sales of gift
  • Plummeting temperature sees clothing sector soar

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that shoppers in the UK spent a total of £6.4 billion online during November, equivalent to £104[1] per person.  Sales were up 23.4% on October and by 21.5% on November 2009.

The figures showed that consumers have dramatically ramped up Christmas shopping, resulting in an above average month-on-month growth across all sectors. In keeping with the festive season, the ‘Gift’ sector saw the largest growth, boasting a massive month-on-month leap of 123%; the biggest increase between October and November since 2006.

The impressive growth witnessed across the Index can be attributed to a number of key factors. The struggling economy is clearly having an affect on consumer behaviour, driving shoppers away from the high-street in search of online bargains. Also, as the VAT increase looms ever closer, it seems shoppers are looking to make those big, high ticket, purchases before the New Year. This is supported by the 44% month-on-month increase from October, and 12% growth on the same period last year in the electrical sector.

Another sector that saw a dramatic jump in sales is ‘Clothing, Footwear and Accessories’. The tail end of November was the coldest recorded in the UK since 1993[2] , so it was no surprise that as consumers stocked up on winter jackets and woolly socks, the sector saw a year-on-year increase of 35% which is the strongest growth for this sector for 18 months. It is significant to note, clothing experienced a massive 50% leap in conversion rate, suggesting consumers are not just surfing the net to window shop, but researching the best price and placing an order.
Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini says: “November has been a very significant month in terms of online retail. Of course the surge in sales can be attributed to the season, but it is indicative of the ongoing trend of consumers migrating online. This is a trend which is only set to continue particularly as consumers use the power of the web to make their ever diminishing disposable income go further.”

Tina Spooner, director of information at IMRG, comments: “November was a very strong month for online retailers with £6.4billion spent online. It has also been a very unique month – the huge rise in shopping combined with one of the heaviest snowfalls in recent years has proved challenging for many online retailers. It will be interesting to see how this will affect consumer confidence and whether it will result in a weaker than expected December.

IMRG November

Industry quotes
Phillip Rinn, Director of Advertising Partnerships, eBay Advertising, UK & EMEA, says: “The latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows how UK online retailers continue to defy the backdrop of uncertain high street expectations by posting exponential growth figures month-on –month. November’s 23.4% increase on the previous month clearly indicates a step change in the adoption of online shopping in the UK, which is increasingly becoming the first point of call when consumers first consider their festive purchases. At eBay Advertising we’re pleased to see additional industry statistics endorse our own view that e-commerce and online retail sites have long been the drivers of growth within the wider retail market. As the world’s largest online marketplace, eBay has also noted a rise in the number of advertisers looking to invest in our offering, keen to take advantage of our ability to deliver high quality levels of traffic to boost merchants’ conversion rates.”
Bjorn Kvarby, European managing director of Shopping.com, says: “The unexpected weather conditions in November led to an incredible spike of sales for snow-related clothing and products. Combined with those organised early Christmas shoppers searching for the best bargains, we saw fast growth with more and more consumers deciding to purchase online.”
Despite the hype about the horrible weather affecting online sales at Christmas, we’re confident that Shopping.com will hit its predicted growth of 23%, year-on-year. The general trend has been for a drastic drop-off of sales after 15th December, due to a fundamental trust issue amongst consumers that retailers will fail deliver before Christmas Day. The weather will make little difference to this, but it’s an issue the industry still needs to overcome.”

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.

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), 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, Home & Cook, House of Fraser, JD Sports, J D Williams, John Lewis Partnership, Ladderstore.com, Lastminute.com, LK Bennett, Lookfantastic.com, M and M Direct, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, 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, 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 6.4 billion, divided by 61,414,062 (www.google.com/publicdata)
[2]http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/hi/uk_revi ews/newsid_9255000/9255960.stm