• August figures show year on year growth despite seasonal dip
  • Back to school shoe sales help footwear buck trend

Figures released from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index today show that growth in online spending slowed in August although the market
continues to expand and is now 15.1% higher than at the same point last year.
The Index reveals that after a strong July, all sectors, except footwear and accessories,
experienced negative month on month growth.

School shoes and small treats

The start of the new school year boosted sales of shoes with online sales rising
7% month on month against a fall of 9.8% for the Index overall in August. A jump
in growth in sales of accessories of 18% is attributed to shoppers turning to
smaller items to spruce up existing wardrobes in preference to an entirely new

Seasonal variation

Indicating an increasing maturity in the online retail space, a seasonal pattern
is starting to emerge that more closely mirrors overall retail sales both offline
and online. For both 2007 and 2008 the index has fallen in August by approximately
10% as opposed to the slight positive or flat growth recorded in the past.


Monthly change in IMRG Capgemini Index

Total Market


Clothing, Footwear, Accessories






Electrical sector


Beers, Wines and Sprits





Mike Petevinos, Head of Consulting for Retail at Capgemini UK, said:       

“The results for August demonstrate the maturing of e-retail.  Online sales are
starting to mirror more closely seasonal retail patterns, experiencing a dip in
August for the second year running.  Similarly, whilst year on year growth continues
to be strong at around 15% it does reflect the market’s progression up the maturity
curve and away from the 60%+ growth rates we’ve seen in the past.  It is important
to acknowledge the inevitable impact of faltering consumer confidence, with shoppers
opting for lower cost accessories in preference to big ticket items.”

Jo Evans, Managing Director of IMRG commented:

 “Despite the continuing problems in the UK economy, it is heartening to see
online shopping’s continuing double digit annual growth. More than anything this
reveals the continuing maturity of the online marketplace and the extent to which
consumers’ buying behaviour has moved towards embracing the internet for their
general day to day shopping, as well as the more esoteric gifts and products. 
As everybody’s attention is drawn towards doing more with less, the internet’s
large potential for improving each aspect of retail choice, service and efficiency,
will increasingly bring it into competition for every pound of every shopping

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 Experience – and through a global delivery model called Rightshore®,
which aims to offer the right resources in the right location at competitive cost.
Present in 36 countries, Capgemini reported 2007 global revenues of EUR 8.7 billion
and employs over 83,000 people worldwide.

More information is available at www.uk.capgemini.com.

About the ‘IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’

The IMRG Capgemini Index 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 sixty e-retailers regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index,
including 247 Electrical, Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Ancestral Collections,
Arcadia Group, ASOS.com, BeCheeky.com, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Boden.co.uk, Boots
Direct, Buyagift.com, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt, Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative
Travel, Crocus.co.uk, dabs.com, Damart, Daxon, Debenhams, e flowersUK.co.uk, EmpireDirect,
Figleaves.com, Firebox, Furniture123, Game.net, GreatValueJewellery.com, Greenfingers.com,
Interflora, J D Williams, Jason Shankey, John Lewis Partnership, La Redoute, lastminute.com,
Lighting-Direct, Lookfantastic.com, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, New
Look, Next, Otto UK (Freemans, Grattan, Kaleidoscope), PetPlanet.co.uk, Pixmania,
Prezzybox.com, QED-UK, QVC, R C Roland, Redcats UK, Shoe-Shop.com, Shop Direct
Home Shopping, Schuh, Skinstore.com, Tesco.com Wine, Tesco Electrical, The Fragrance
Shop, The Jewellery Channel, The Sunday Times Wine Club, TUI UK, United Co-op,
Vertbaudet, Waitrose and  Wilkinson Hardware.

Quotes from retailers:

Christian Robinson, Managing Director of Firebox.com comments: “Due to the current economic climate we have found that more and more people are
buying products that can be enjoyed with friends at home. This reflects on the
latest trend of saving money by staying in. Products linked to home entertainment
such as the USB VHS Converter, the Air Guitars, USB Drums and Pizza Oven sold
well for Firebox in August.”

Dominic Yacoubian, Managing Director of 247electrical.co.uk said: “We’re seeing that people are going for what they need and not what they want.”
He added: “Buyers now are mums with a limited amount to spend and they’re choosing
the safe and ‘green’ option.”

Anna Bacon, Head of Marketing at Lookfantastic, said: “At Lookfantastic we have had a successful August, and in fact sales have been
up year on year every month since the start of the year. We feel that this is
due to the faster speed of the site, plus improved SEO and site performance. We
have also grown our database substantially over the past year, along with the
number of brands available on site – all of which contribute to an increase in
overall performance.”

Alison Wade, Head of Marketing at Buyagift, said: “As with every other month of the year so far, Buyagift.com’s August turnover
and order figures were a vast improvement on last year’s. Our theme park ticket
sales were extremely strong throughout the school holiday period, despite the
consistently less than perfect weather, with August sales up nearly 40% on 2007’s
figures. With the web site and third party resellers performing so strongly over
the traditionally quieter summer period, the outlook for the up and coming fourth
quarter is undoubtedly positive.”