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IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index: October online sales growth at highest rate since Black Friday 2014

17 Nov 2016

London – The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index has revealed the value of online retail sales grew +18.9% year-on-year (YoY) in October. This was building on a comparatively low rate in October 2015 (when growth was +8.7%), but it still represents the highest YoY growth rate in any month since November 2014, when Black Friday had a huge impact on pre-Christmas shopping patterns.

Interestingly, the Index also recorded its lowest conversion rate – the percentage of website visits that result in sales – since February 2013, at just 4.1%*. This may suggest that, ahead of Black Friday this year, increasing numbers of people are visiting company websites to browse and build wish-lists. Although this may initially seem to contradict the high overall Index growth, it may have been sustained by a significant increase in both the number of site visitors and the amount of impulse purchasing completed at full price whilst browsing.

Across the sectors, sales of home goods performed particularly well and were up a solid +23.9% YoY, and +21.8% on September. This could have been spurred by a deteriorating pound, with people more focused on domestic home improvements rather than spending on holidays abroad – which have become a lot more expensive since the Brexit vote. This renewed focus on higher-ticket items – combined with impulse purchasing at full price – may help to explain an increase in the Index’s average basket value to £90 – the highest since March 2011*.

Other sectors which performed impressively included accessories, up +37.7% YoY and gifts up +29.1% YoY. However, in contrast to this, sales in health and beauty tumbled -12.2% YoY, while beauty sales in particular fell -1.9%.

Across mobile channels, tablets made a resurgence, with sales completed on the device up +6.0% YoY and +18.0% MoM*. In the lead-up to Black Friday, it may be the ease of browsing multiple sites and products on the device that has boosted their use over smartphones which offer smaller display screens.

Bhavesh Unadkat, Management Consultant in Retail Customer Engagement Design, Capgemini: “It’s very reassuring to see the market perform so well. Despite some of the economic uncertainty we’ve experienced since the summer, consumer confidence clearly remains strong. The performance was likely boosted by multi-channel retailers holding discount days which helped drive incremental traffic and sales.  The dip in conversion rates suggest shoppers began browsing websites early in preparation for Black Friday, or as they begin to create their Christmas lists. In doing so, they could well have converted on selected items that were on offer. 

“October’s results offer a very positive indication of what retailers can expect from the fast approaching festive period. However, it will be up to retailers to make sure they capitalise on these vitally important trading periods.”

Justin Opie, managing director, at IMRG: The Index has performed ahead of expectation so far in 2016 – we recently adjusted our start-of-year forecast from +11% growth to +15% as a consequence – and October’s results continued this trend. On the surface a drop in conversion should logically lead to lower growth, but a 5-year high for basket values and the likelihood of increased site traffic as people start researching in advance of Black Friday seems to have offset any negative impact. In recent years Black Friday has become an incredibly important period for determining a retailer’s success at the peak time of year, so retailers will hope that higher basket values can be sustained over the coming few weeks.”

*Excluding travel participants


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, Amara, Appliance House, Arcadia Group (Burton, Top Man, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Miss Selfridge), Argos, Ask Direct,, B&Q, Berry Bros & Rudd, Blacks,, Boots, Brora, BT Shop,, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt, Clarks, Clinkards,, 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), Get The Label,, House of Fraser, Jack Wills, JD Sports, JD Williams, John Lewis Partnership, Liz Earle, M and M Direct, Made In Design, Majestic Wine, Marks & Spencer,  Millets, Missguided, Moss Bros, Naked Wines,, New Look, Next,, Oasis,,, Pink Boutique,, QVC, River Island, Rocket Dog, Schuh, Scotlight Direct, Scott,,,, Shop Direct Home Shopping (Littlewoods, Very, Very Exclusive), Serenata Flowers, Shoetique, Silentnight, Size, Sofa and Home, Sparkling Strawberry, Spirit Boutique,,, The Body Shop, The Great Gift Company, The White Company, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Universal Music, Waitrose, Within Home, Woods of Shropshire, Woolovers & 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 180,000 people in over 40 countries, Capgemini is a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2015 global revenues of EUR 11.9 billion. Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business, technology and digital solutions that fit their needs, enabling them to achieve innovation and competitiveness. A deeply multicultural organization, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model.

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