February fallout for online following strong January

| Press release
Valentine’s Day helps boost flagging online retail growth
  • £5.4 billion spent online during February 2012
  • Index sees year-on-year growth of 10%; lowest level since January 2010
  • Shoppers jump online to buy loved ones Valentine’s Day presents 
  • Confidence in online-only retailers catches up with their multichannel counterparts

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that shoppers in the UK spent a total of £5.4 billion (equivalent to £106  per person) online during February; up 10% on the same time last year, but  representing a growth rate of just half that recorded in February 2011 (20%).

The 10% year-on-year growth of the Index marks the slowest rate reported since January 2010. However, as mentioned above this figure does come off the back of a particularly strong February 2011. This slowdown may also be attributable to other factors, such as the gradual phasing out of heavy discounts/sales that were prominent during December and January.

Valentine’s Day helped boost sales in the e-retail sectors traditionally associated with romantic presents, including gifts which grew an impressive 26% month-on-month and 22% year-on-year. Similarly, the lingerie and health & beauty sectors saw a year-on-year jump of 27% and 32% respectively, indicating that while British shoppers are tightening belts in response to ongoing economic uncertainty, they are happy to splash out on treats for their loved ones.

The clothing sector has continued to perform at an unusually low level for the fourth consecutive month, recording just 9% year-on-year growth in February. However, like the wider Index, this is on the back of a very strong February 2011, which recorded a particularly high 34% growth.  The sale of alcohol online has grown on January, jumping a significant 21%, suggesting the post-Christmas detox is well and truly over.

Growth in February came from a repeat high performance for online-only/catalogue retailers, who recorded year-on-year growth of 13%, exceeding the multichannel / high street retailers (defined as having both an online and a ‘bricks and mortar’ presence), who recorded growth of just 8%. This is the second consecutive month that online–only/catalogue has outperformed multichannel / high street retailers. 

Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology, Capgemini UK, said: “It is very interesting to see the growth of online-only retailers exceeding that of the multichannel. Low footfall and a disappointing performance on the high street could be affecting the multichannel retailers’ online counterparts. Online-only retailers’ rapid innovation and adoption of growth areas in e-retail, driven by mobile and click ‘n’ collect, seem to have put them ahead once again; now is the time for the multi-channel retailers to respond.”

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, commented:  “Although growth in e-retail sales was lower than expected in February, it has to be considered in the context of the 20% rise seen in February 2011, so double-digit growth is still a positive result.

“It appears evident from the sales growth recorded by online-only/catalogue retailers over recent months that consumer confidence in the online channel is increasing.  These results suggest consumers who may have initially looked to trusted high street brands when shopping online for the first time are now becoming more confident in purchasing from pure-play e-retailers. It is also interesting to note that the average e-retail spend for online-only/catalogue retailers is 10% higher than during the same month last year, while for multichannel/high street it is actually 8% lower.”

February eRSI
Industry Quotes

Jonathon Brown, Head of Online at John Lewis comments: “February was a tremendous month for John Lewis online seeing us continue to build on our outstanding performance in 2011. With sales +37% on 2011 we really have an offer that our customers are responding to in significant volume. All directorates saw increased sales both on last year and on our expectations, with fashion sales achieving a remarkable +50% on last year. Key sellers were in womenswear with customers not only buying our core brands such as Phase 8 and Hobbs, but also some of our new brands such as Seasalt and Desigual. Electricals and home technology saw market beating performance with sales +36% on last year with all areas in fine form. Finally home saw consistently outstanding performances with sales coming in at +31% on last year with strength across the board.
So a tremendous start to 2012 and one that we are very confident we will be able to continue for some time
.”

Russ Carroll, UK managing director of Shopping.com, comments: “Online spending remained steady in February with sales of accessories (up 30%) and nutritional products (up 48%) showing particularly strong year-on-year performances across the Shopping.com network. Laptop and tablet accessories also proved popular showing a month-on-month increase in sales of 43%, while clothing and cosmetic sales were up 15% and 5% respectively, perhaps as people snapped up a gift for Valentine’s Day.”

Sue Herrick, Buying Director at figleaves.com, comments: “We saw a 12% year-on-year increase in lingerie sales during the Valentine’s period. Black lace was the bestselling style, with the figleaves boudoir lingerie range having the biggest brand uplift year-on-year of 11%.”

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 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 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, Gameplay, 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, Peacocks, 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, Sofa and Home, Sunshine.co.uk, Tesco.com, The Body Shop,  The Fragrance Shop, The Health Supermarket, The Mat Factory, The Natural Store, The White Company, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Waitrose, Warehouse, Wilkinson Hardware & Wynsors World of Shoes.

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