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IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index: Strong start to year for online retail as sales growth up +13.9% year on year

20 Feb 2018

LONDON: UK online retail sales were up +13.9% year-on-year (YoY) in January, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. With rainfall above average in January, and the lowest January high street footfall recorded in 5 years[1], consumers turned to online shopping this January. Even the expected post-Christmas month-on-month (MoM) decline in sales from December to January, which came in at -20.4%, was less than the 5 year average of -24.1%.

With January sales still an important market stimulus, the electricals sector performed well relative to recent trends, growing +4.4% YoY. Its performance sits starkly against last year’s 12 month average (Jan17 – Dec17) of -3.0% YoY and January 2017’s YoY growth figure of -8.5%. Similarly, sales growth for the clothing sector was up +16.8% year-on-year, its strongest January growth since 2013. Footwear, Menswear and Womenswear growth were broadly in line with the 5 year average, with year-on-year growth of +13.3%, +10.4% and +6.9% respectively.

This solid start to the year was secured in spite of a dip in the overall market conversion rate to +4.3% from +4.5% last year, continuing the decreasing trend as customers browse more before purchasing. Sales via smartphones are also increasing at a lower rate than last year, at +39.3% YoY in January, while growth through tablets suffered a decrease in YoY growth of -10.0%.

Justin Opie, managing director, IMRG: “14% growth for January represents a strong start to the year, arguably even surprisingly so. The economic climate remains challenging, with inflation remaining at 3% and an interest rate rise anticipated over the next few months. The impact on retail was very apparent in January, with several very large retailers announcing store closures and job cuts – high street footfall also fell to a five-year low for January. Yet online appeared to benefit from that, with the index recording the lowest month-on-month decrease (-20.5 %) between December and January in five years. It may be that, as we enter 2018, we are seeing signs of an acceleration of the general move over to online, putting pressure on those retailers with large store portfolios to sharpen their focus on rolling out their digital strategy.”

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini: “Electricals’ grew by 4% on the year; the optimist will position this is a good start to 2018 compared to the declining 2017 performance – it’s proven if electricals does well then other categories usually follow. The pessimist will argue this performance was delivered through overstocks from peak and heavy discounting in January. I think it is a mixture of the two; heavy discounting did continue in January for core electricals but the rise in products available for exercise and voice assistance like Alexa has helped deliver growth to this category. Multi-channel retailers had a significantly higher transaction value than online proving how customers across certain categories like the human touch and engagement with products and staff before committing to a purchase.”


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.

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

A global leader in consulting, technology services and digital transformation, Capgemini is at the forefront of innovation to address the entire breadth of clients’ opportunities in the evolving world of cloud, digital and platforms. Building on its strong 50-year heritage and deep industry-specific expertise, Capgemini enables organizations to realize their business ambitions through an array of services from strategy to operations. Capgemini is driven by the conviction that the business value of technology comes from and through people. It is a multicultural company of 200,000 team members in over 40 countries. The Group reported 2017 global revenues of EUR 12.8 billion.

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