Diamond Jubilee sparks surge in online sales

| Press release
e-Retail results in May confirm year-to-date growth projections
  • £6 billion spent online during May 2012 
  • Warmer weather and Jubilee spirit helps online sales jump 13% year-on-year 
  • Mobile-commerce sees 359% year-on-year growth

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index revealed that British shoppers spent an estimated £6 billion (an average of £117[1] per person) online in May, equating to a 13% growth on the same time last year, and 5% on April. This solid performance marks a return to growth in-line with the last 12 months and matches the 13% growth estimate for the full year.

May experienced the first proper taste of summer, with much of the UK basking in sunshine[2], resulting in a much welcomed boost for the clothing sector. The warm weather helped the clothing sector return year-on-year growth from its lowest ever level in April, to a much more respectable 11% in May. Clearly people were waiting for the sun to return after a wet April, before replenishing their summer wardrobes with the best online deals. 

While the sunshine might have disappeared for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend, the party spirit wasn’t dampened, with Brits rushing online to stock up on alcohol. The bank holiday at the beginning of the month and the long Jubilee weekend helped the alcohol sector grow a solid 12% month-on-month.

The electrical sector continues to perform well, with demands of the latest gadgets, such as the new iPad, helping to maintain a 22% year-on-year growth. This is in stark contrast to May last year, with the sector recording a meagre growth of just 6%.

Year-on-year growth for pure play/catalogue retailers outperformed their multi-channel counterparts for the fifth consecutive month. Whilst those retailers with an online only presence saw a growth of 19%, those with both an online and a high-street presence recorded just 10%. This emerging trend is in contrast to the last two years, where multi-channel retailers benefitted from customer loyalty and trust.

M-commerce[3] was up 359% year-on-year with mobile-based websites fast becoming the destination of choice for British shoppers on the go. While conversion rates in both e-retail and m-retail showed an upward trend this month, mobile conversion rate (excluding travel retailers) reached its highest level at 1.8%; signifying that mobile browsers are gradually converting into mobile buyers.

IMRG eRetail Sales Index for May


Chris Webster, Head of Retail and Technology at Capgemini, said: “It is encouraging to see overall growth returning to all sectors of eRetail. The battle between online-only retailers and their multi-channel counterparts continues apace with online-only leading the charge in 2012 after two years where multi-channel retailers have led the way.

“Rising mobile conversion rates also demonstrate that shoppers’ willingness to browse on a mobile device is converting into transactions and purchases. This means retailers are refreshing their mobile-enabled websites to catch shoppers on the go and in a way that builds consumer trust.”

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, commented: “The explosive growth in mobile sales continued in May, with the m-Retail Index recording its strongest performance this year.  While this growth is predominantly driven by sales via tablet devices, it is evident that consumers’ use of smartphones as a research tool in-store is also increasing.

“The overall growth in the e-retail sector last month was positive, resulting in 13% overall growth year-to-date in 2012, exactly in line with the IMRG / Capgemini forecast. For the fifth consecutive month the Index reveals online-only / catalogue retailers have outperformed high street/multichannel retailers in terms of annual growth. There appears to be an interesting trend emerging between these two groups of retailers and each month the gap is widening.  This may be an indicator that consumers who previously only shopped online with trusted high street brands are becoming more trusting of the lesser-known pure-plays.”

Industry Quotes

Ryan Kemp, Head of Merchant Services UK for Shopping.com, commented: “Despite the mixed weather in May, consumers were determined to enjoy themselves and gear up for the Queen’s Jubilee. Heaters topped the list for shoppers, along with garden tools and cosmetics, while clothing showed strong year on year growth too. Tablets also showed strong growth yet again as more and more people shop via a mobile device from home or on the move.”

Amanda McGillivray, MD at The Natural Skincare Company said: “May was a bumper month for The Natural Skincare Co with sales reaching their highest level compared to previous years.  We have been looking at niche markets and mail order this year and believe that this has helped sales grow for us.”

Notes to Editors

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. Consumers can be confident when dealing with IMRG Members because all have committed to operate using methods that are Honest, Decent, Legal, Truthful and Fair, and have undertaken to not bring the industry into disrepute. The strength of IMRG is the collective and co-operative power of its members.

About Capgemini
With around 120,000 people in 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2011 global revenues of EUR 9.7 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.

Learn more about us at www.capgemini.com.

Rightshore® is a trademark belonging to Capgemini

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.  These sales are predominantly internet-based today, but the Index remains ready to record e-retail sales conducted via whatever interactive channels the market may embrace in the future.

Index Participants
Over a hundred e-retailers regularly contribute to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including A. Hume Country Clothing, Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Amara, Arcadia Group (Burton, Top Man, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Miss Selfridge), Ask Direct, ASOS.com, Bank, Berry Bros & Rudd,  Binends.com, Blacks, Boden.co.uk, Boohoo.com, Boots Direct, Boutique to You, Brandosa.co.uk, Brora, Buyagift.com, BuyItDirect.co.uk, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Clinkard, Charles Tyrwhitt,  Clarks, Cloggs, Cocosa, Co-operative Travel, Crocus.co.uk, Dabs.com, Damart, Debenhams, Effortless Skin, Ethical Superstore, Figleaves.com, Firebox, First Choice, Freemans Grattan Holdings, Furniture123, Game, Gamestation, Getting Personal.co.uk, Greenfingers.com, Home & Cook, House of Fraser, JD Sports, J D Williams, John Lewis Partnership, Ladderstore.com, Lastminute.com, LK Bennett, Lookfantastic.com, Lyco Direct, M and M Direct, Majestic Wine, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Millets, Naked Wines, NaturalCollection.com, New Look, Next, Perfect Handbags, PetPlanet.co.uk, Philip Kingsley, PIXmania, Prezzybox.com, Purely Gadgets, QVC, Redfoot Revolution, Richer Sounds, Sainsbury’s, Scales Express, Schuh, Scotlight Direct, Scott, Shoe-Shop.com, Shop Direct Home Shopping (Additions, Great Universal, Kays, Littlewoods, Empire, Woolworths, Very, Isme), Serenata Flowers, Size, Slurp.co.uk, Sofa and Home, Sparkling Strawberry, Sunshine.co.uk, Tesco.com, The Body Shop,  The Fragrance Shop, The Health Supermarket, The Mat Factory, The Natural Skincare Co, The Natural Store, The White Company, ToxicFox, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Waitrose, Warehouse, Wilkinson Hardware & Wynsors World of Shoes.

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[1] £6 bn divided by the estimated number of UK adults 50.9m

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18197613

[3] All m-commerce data is drawn from the m-Retail Sales Index, which runs in parallel with the main Index