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IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index: First ever quarterly single digit growth for online retail sales

15 Apr 2015

LondonThe latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that online sales grew 9% in March and 11% on February 2015, meaning that the Index has recorded only single-digit growth for each month in Q1 2015 – the first time this has happened in any quarter.
During Q1 2015 online sales grew by just 7% compared to Q1 2014, however, this is on the back of a strong performance in Q1 last year when annual growth stood at 17% – the strongest Q1 growth seen since 2011.
The growth is largely being driven by mobile sales – those purchases made on either a tablet device or a smartphone – up 9% on the previous month and 46% on March 2014. During the first quarter of 2015, mobile saw an increase of 38% on the same period last year.
Online sales in March were boosted by Mother’s Day, with items within the gift sector up 20% year-on-year and reaching an impressive 48% peak during the week leading up to it (w/c 9th March).

Travel reported a similarly healthy performance, with 18% annual growth compared to just 6% recorded at the same time last year.

Adgild Hop, Principal, Head of Retail Consulting, Capgemini, commented: “After a rather unsteady start to the year, March’s return to growth, albeit a relatively conservative one, will be much welcomed by the UK’s online retailers.


The influence of sales via a tablet or smartphone, which are in effect the main vehicles for growth in the index, is a clear indication of just how valuable mobile platforms have become to the retail customer experience. If it weren’t for mobile, the overall trends for e-retail would be neutral at best. Retailers therefore need to expect that as online propositions become increasingly commoditised, the secret to differentiation and competitive advantage increasingly resides in the mobile customer experience.”


Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer, at IMRG said: “There are a number of factors that may be influencing this apparent slowdown in online retail sales growth – such as a maturing market or uncertainty around the upcoming election. One particular point that does stand out from the latest figures however is that travel growth for Q1 2015 (+19%) was the strongest we’ve seen for that quarter since we started tracking this sector in 2009 – this suggests that consumers may be feeling more confident in how the economic recovery is progressing and spending out on holidays again, diverting that potential expenditure away from retail sites.


This may be further evidenced by the Q1 performance of the high ticket item sectors electricals (+1%) and home and garden (-6%) as people may be investing their money in more entertainment-focused activities rather than home improvement.

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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, Alison at Home, Amara, Appliance House, Arcadia Group (Burton, Top Man, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Miss Selfridge), Ask Direct,, B&Q, Bank, Berry Bros & Rudd, Blacks,,, Boots Direct, Brora,, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt, Clarks,,, Damart, Debenhams, Deckers, Dunelm Mill, Effortless Skin, Ethical Superstore, Firebox, First Choice, Freemans Grattan Holdings (Freemans, Grattan, Look Again, Kaleidoscope, Curvissa, Swimear365, Witt International UK), Game, Get The Label,, Home & Cook, House of Fraser, JD Sports, JD Williams, John Lewis Partnership,, LK Bennett, M and M Direct, Majestic Wine, Marks & Spencer,  Millets, Moss Bros, Naked Wines,, New Look, Next, Perfect Handbags Perricone MD,,,,, QVC, Redfoot Revolution, Sainsbury’s, Scales Express, Schuh, Scotlight Direct, Scott,, Shop Direct Home Shopping (Kays, Littlewoods, Very, Very Exclusive, Isme, Woolworths), Serenata Flowers, Size,, Sofa and Home, Sparkling Strawberry,, SuperGroup,, The Body Shop, The Great Gift Company, The Mat Factory, The White Company, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Waitrose, Wilkinson Hardware & Wynsors World of Shoes.
About IMRG
For over 20 years, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) has been the voice of e-retail in the UK. We are a membership community comprising businesses of all sizes – multichannel and pureplay, SME and multinational, and solution providers to industry.
We support our members through a range of activities – including market tracking and insight, benchmarking and best practice sharing. Our indexes provide in-depth intelligence on online sales, mobile sales, delivery trends and over 40 additional KPIs.
Our goal is to ensure our members have the information and resources they need to succeed in rapidly-evolving markets – both domestically and internationally. 

About Capgemini
With more than 140,000 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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