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IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index: Strong start to year for online retail sales

17 Feb 2016

London – According to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index the online retail sector has started the year on a high, recording a solid 15% annual growth in January (excluding travel); more than double the 7% recorded in January 2015. The strong performance suggests that the Black Friday effect – which appeared to influence a lingering downturn in sales growth in Q1 of last year – has not been repeated this year.

If the positive performance is continued, it may be that the Black Friday effect was a blip last year due to the surprising scale of the event, or it could be that other factors – such as uncertainty around the election and strength of Sterling – also played a significant role in suppressing growth in early 2015.

The positive performance of the overall Index was felt across many of the individual sectors, including the sale of Clothing and Electrical items, both of which recorded a 15% Year-on-Year (YoY) growth; the highest annual growth for the Electrical sector since November 2014. January also saw the Travel sector’s usual annual peak, recording an impressive 188% increase on December, and 11% on the same period last year.

Not all sectors enjoyed such a strong start to the year however. Dry January resulted in Alcohol sales experiencing its weakest performance since February 2014. The sector saw a 2% fall on January 2015, and a 65% decrease on December’s results.  Similarly, the Accessories sector recorded its lowest ever annual increase of just 12%, the first time it has dropped below the growth of the wider Index.

The Index also highlighted an emerging trend in terms of the growing performance disparity between sales made via smartphones and those on tablet devices – with annual growth for tablets up just 13%, while smartphone growth was up 96%.

Richard Tremellen, Retail Insight and Data Specialist, Capgemini, commented“As we settle into the New Year, with the busy festive period behind us, the retail sector will be relieved to see such impressive results. It’s a strong indication that consumer confidence is continuing to grow and puts us in a good position for a strong 2016.

“The sustained growth of sales via smartphones in January also demonstrates the progress retailers have made in developing the customer experience on their mobile platforms.”

Tina Spooner, chief information officer, IMRG, said: “The latest Index results reveal a strong start to the year for the UK online retail industry, with annual growth reaching the second-highest rate recorded over the past 14 months.  The 15% growth in January is more than double the growth rate observed in the same month last year, when the knock-on effect of Black Friday continued into the early part of 2015, and is ahead of IMRG and Capgemini’s 2015 growth forecast.

“The divergence between the use of mobile devices is becoming increasingly apparent – growth rates via smartphones surged 96% year-on-year, with confidence in using them for shopping most likely boosted by the design shift toward larger screens, together with improved retailer mobile sites. Conversely, growth in sales completed on tablet devices fell below the overall online growth rate for the first time since we started tracking it – up 13% from January last year.”


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), Ask Direct,, B&Q, Ben Sherman, Berry Bros & Rudd, Blacks,, Boots, Brora,, 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), Game, Get The Label,, House of Fraser,, JD Sports, JD Williams, John Lewis Partnership,, Lakeland Furniture, Liz Earle, LK Bennett, M and M Direct, Made in Design, Majestic Wine, Marks & Spencer,  Millets, Moss Bros, Naked Wines,, New Look, Next,, Oasis,,,, QVC, River Island, Scales Express, Schuh, Scotlight Direct, Scott,,, Shop Direct Home Shopping (Littlewoods, Very, Very Exclusive, Serenata Flowers, Silentnight, Size, Sofa and Home, Sparkling Strawberry,,, The Body Shop, The Great Gift Company, The White Company, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Universal Music,  Waitrose, Within Home, Woods of Shropshire & 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

Now with 180,000 people in over 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2014 global revenues of EUR 10.573 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.

Learn more about us at

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