Online sales growth exceeds expectation during first half of 2011

| Press release
Weather and Wedding see us spend almost a fifth more online this year, says the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index for the month of June
  • e-Retail sales up 19% in H1 2011 compared with H1 2010; 1% higher than forecast
  • £31.5 billion spent online to date in 2011; £5.3 billion spent online in June alone

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed a better-than-expected performance for online sales during the first six months of 2011. British shoppers have spent £31.5 billion online so far this year; a significant 19% increase on the same period last year and 1% ahead of IMRG and Capgemini’s growth forecast back in January.

    Growth is due to several key factors: a struggling economy and high-street has driven shoppers online for better deals; a scorching April[1] saw shoppers jump online early to add to their summer wardrobes, while summer downpours have increased the appeal of in-doors shopping; and the Royal Wedding encouraged Brits to get into the party spirit with massive alcohol spend online.

    As for June itself, a total of £5.3 billion was spent online, 21% more than June 2010,and equivalent to £86[2] per person. This growth far exceeds that witnessed on the high-street, which reported a like-for-like drop of 0.6% on the same period last year[3].

    Clothing in particular saw strong growth in June, reporting a 31% increase on June 2010. This significant result for e-retail is in contrast to the stagnant sales of clothing witnessed offline.

    Travel also saw continued growth last month, leaping 14% year-on-year and 4% on May. This is likely to be attributed to a very mild June, the coolest since 2001[4], which encouraged Brits to travel abroad this summer in hunt of warmer climes.

    Alcohol was another sector that recorded a solid performance last month, with year-on-year growth of 10%, as did the gift sector, which reported a 14% increase from May, driven largely by Father’s Day on the 19th June. The Index supported this finding, indicating that e-retail sales peaked in the two weeks prior to Father’s Day.

    Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini says: “A 21% year-on-year increase in June is a perfect way to round off the first half of 2011, as it is consistent with what has been to date a very strong year. Bank holidays, soggy weekends and major sporting events encourage us to go online for our shopping – it’s quick, it’s convenient and we can do it 365 days a year. What’s more, we don’t need to be armed with an umbrella.  It will be interesting to see whether the Index can maintain growth off the back of strong growth in the second half of 2010.”

    David Smith, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at IMRG comments: “Many were predicting a tough year for retail in 2011 and in the high street that has proved to be the case, but the online market has actually grown by 19% over the first half of the year. This figure is currently 1% ahead of our prediction for the year, so a really positive start overall. The rise in June of 21% is actually the strongest y-on-y growth recorded in the Index since January, so online is really booming. This growth has probably been influenced by the huge sales being put on by high street retailers, which would have to be mirrored across their e-commerce sites too.

    The modern retail market is dictated by what the consumer wants, and online is becoming ever-more central to our shopping behaviour. Both Sports Direct and SuperDry have released figures recently showing that their e-commerce sales have doubled in the space of a year from around 4% to 8% of total revenue. These results clearly demonstrate the potential for multichannel retailers to greatly increase their margins by successfully integrating their available channels. ASOS reported 15% growth for Q1, lower than the market average and suggesting maturity for them in the UK market, but including their overseas figures that growth rises to 69%. ASOS are a leading light in terms of opportunities in the international market.”

    IMRG figures for June 2011

    Industry quotes

    Russ Carroll, UK Managing Director of Shopping.com, comments: “Shopping behaviour clearly reflects the weather and time of year, with sports and outdoor equipment registering the largest year on year growth on Shopping.com. Baby care, mobile phones and toys all showed strong growth too as people turned online to find the best deals.”

    Notes to Editors

    About IMRG

    IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the industry association for global 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 interact in an environment where they are encouraged 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 cooperative power of its members. For more information please visit http://www.imrg.org/ or email market@imrg.org

    About Capgemini

    With 112,000 people in 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2010 global revenues of EUR 8.7 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.
    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.

    Around one hundred e-retailers now regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Amara, Arcadia Group (Burton, Top Man, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Miss Selfridge), Ask Direct, ASOS.com, Beautique.com, BeCheeky.com, Berry Bros & Rudd,  Binends.com, Blacks, Boden.co.uk, Boohoo.com, Boots Direct, Brandosa.co.uk, Brora, Buyagift.com, BuyItDirect.co.uk, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt,  Clarks, Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative Travel, Crocus.co.uk, Dabs.com, Damart, Debenhams, Dobbies, e-flowersUK.co.uk, 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, M and M Direct, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Millets, Monster Travel, Musto, My Tuxedo, Naked Wines, NaturalCollection.com, New Look, Next, Peacocks, Perfect Handbags, PetPlanet.co.uk, Philip Kingsley, PIXmania, Prezzybox.com, QVC, Redfoot Revolution, Richer Sounds, Sainsbury’s, Scales Express, Shoe-Shop.com, Shop Direct Home Shopping, Schuh, Serenata Flowers, Shedstore, Sofa and Home, Sunshine.co.uk, Tesco.com, The Fragrance Shop, The Health Supermarket, The Natural Store, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Vie at Home, Waitrose, Wilkinson Hardware & Wynsors World of Shoes.

    [1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/hi/uk_revi ews/newsid_9475000/9475206.stm

    [2] Calculation by 5.3 billion, divided by 61,838,154 (www.google.com/publicdata)

    [3] The British Retail Consortium reported a like-for-like drop of 0.6% on June 2010 and one of 2.1% on May 2011  http://www.brc.org.uk/brc_news_detail.as p?id=1998

    [4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/hi/uk_revi ews/newsid_9531000/9531298.stm