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E-retail sector sees strongest Q1 performance since 2011 – IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index

14 Apr 2014

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index has revealed that the UK online retail sector has experienced its strongest Q1 growth in three years, representing an estimated £23.1 bn spent online. During the first three months of 2014, the Index recorded a growth of 17% over the same period last year, which matches IMRG and Capgemini’s growth forecast for the year.

These results further support the ongoing stability of the e-retail sector, which in March alone saw an annual growth of 18% and a 15% increase on February (excluding travel sector). Britons spent approximately £7.8 bn online last month, up from £6.7 bn in March 2013.

In terms of sector performance, a number of key retail segments stood out during the first quarter of the year.  Accessories (up 34%), footwear (up 22%), health and beauty (up 23%) and home and garden (up 21%), all recorded impressive year-on-year growth.

Over the three month period, garden products saw a surge of 40%, while items for the home have seen an equally respectable increase of 18%. The sale of items for the garden were particularly strong in March, during which the sector grew 109% on February 2014.

Clothing and alcohol sales also saw a strong month-on-month performance in March, recording a growth of 21% and 31% respectively.

Rather than the upswing in sales being credited to simply more people shopping online, it has been determined that internet shoppers are spending more per purchase. The average basket value (excluding travel) hit £86 in March, making it the highest rate recorded since September last year and compares with £77 in February 2014 and March 2013.

Sales via mobile devices continue to grow unabated, with m-commerce recording a year-on-year increase of 53% (65% excluding travel) in March. Conversion rates are also on the rise with the average rate recorded last month reaching a five year high of 4.2%.
Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG comments: “This solid growth represents the strongest Q1 performance since 2011 with sales up 17% year-on-year. Following the exceptionally wet weather in February, it appears gardening enthusiasts were making the most of the March sunshine, with sales of garden products surging over 100% between February and March.

“With online transaction values reaching the highest level recorded in six months, and the average conversion rate for March at pre-recession levels, these results not only demonstrate an overall increase in consumer confidence, but also that online shopping is becoming a larger part of our everyday lives.”
Chris Webster, Vice President, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology at Capgemini: “This month’s Index is a good indicator of the current strength of the UK economy. It is interesting to see that spending over the last three months was not limited to just one sector or the result of one particular influence. Rather, Britons are in good spirits, have regained confidence in the economy and using online as a means to spend across the board.”
“The sustained high conversion rate in March also demonstrates the huge strides retailers have made in their online platforms and are continuing to focus on improving the customer experience.”

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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. 
Over one hundred e-retailers now regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including A. Hume Country Clothing, Addict, Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Amara, Arcadia Group (Burton, Top Man, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Miss Selfridge), Ask Direct,, B&Q, Bank, Berry Bros & Rudd,, Blacks,,, Boots Direct, Boutique to You, Brora,, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt, Clarks, Cocosa,,, Damart, Debenhams, Deckers, Dune, Dunelm Mill, Effortless Skin, Ethical Superstore, Firebox, First Choice, Freemans Grattan Holdings (Freemans, Grattan, Look Again, Kaleidoscope, Curvissa, Swimear365, Witt International UK), Game, Gamestation, Get The Label, Getting,, Hobbs, Home & Cook, House of Fraser, JD Sports, J D Williams, John Lewis Partnership,,, LK Bennett,, M and M Direct, Majestic Wine, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Millets, Moss Bros, Naked Wines,, New Look, Next, Perfect Handbags Perricone MD,, Philip Kingsley, PIXmania,, Purely Gadgets, QVC, Redfoot Revolution, Richer Sounds, Sainsbury’s, Scales Express, Schuh, Scotlight Direct, Scott,, Shop Direct Home Shopping (Brand Quarter, Kays, Littlewoods, Very, Isme, Woolworths), Serenata Flowers, Size, Sofa and Home, Sparkling Strawberry,, SuperGA,, The Body Shop,  The Mat Factory, The Natural Skincare Co, , The White Company, This is Pulp, ToxicFox, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Waitrose, Wilkinson Hardware & Wynsors World of Shoes.
About IMRG
IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the UK’s industry association for 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. The strength of IMRG is the collective and cooperative power of its members. For more information please visit or email 
About Capgemini
With more than 130,000 people in over 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2013 global revenues of EUR 10.1 billion. Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business and technology solutions that fit their needs and drive the results they want. A deeply multicultural organisation, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model.
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