Online year-on-year sales growth slows in July to lowest level for 18 months

| Press release
Sluggish travel sector sales contribute to slow down, as the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveals
  • e-Retail sales up just 11.5% in July 2011, the lowest year-on-year growth since Jan 2010
  • £5.58bn spent online in July 2011; 5% up month-on-month
  • Travel sector falls back 1% on 2010 levels

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed a slowdown in the performance of the online sales market, with year-on-year growth at its lowest level since January 2010. British shoppers spent £5.58bn online in July; 5% up on the previous month – a modest growth which has been hampered by poor online sales in the travel sector.

The slowing growth comes as better weather saw more shoppers hitting retail parks and the high street rather than staying indoors to do their shopping. The negative growth in the travel sector is consistent with the industry at large, with many travel companies seeing bookings decline this year. The collapse of travel firm Holidays 4U compounded a poor summer’s trading as online bookings failed to materialise at the expected rate. Further evidence of a poor month can be found in the electricals sector which declined 3% compared with the previous year, having grown 17% year-on-year in July 2010.

Overall, the slowing of online growth was counterbalanced by the high-street, which reported a 2.5% year-on-year sales increase in July[1] helped by a food and clothing sales boost.  Online, certain sectors did perform strongly such as Home & Garden, which increased 27% year-on-year - this is compared with slow growth last year of only 8%. The clothing sector continues to expand rapidly, seeing a 25% year-on-year rise as shoppers update their wardrobes for the summer season and take advantage of the sales.

Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini says: “The slowdown in July shows the internet is not immune in tough times. Successful retailers will need to expand into multichannel and continue to improve customer experience throughout the online shopping processes. Furthermore, with such a successful first half of 2011, it was a tall order for online sales to maintain such rapid growth.”

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, comments: “While the Index performed ahead of expectation during the first six months of the year, a slowdown in e-retail growth during the second half was always going to be a possibility. Between July and December last year the Index recorded strong growth, with sales up 21% year-on-year, and therefore over the coming months sales may well be slower, having come from a stronger base last year. However, online retail continues to consistently deliver double-digit growth, despite the retail gloom on the high street.

“With budgets being squeezed and disposable incomes shrinking, it is evident that consumers are making more considered purchases, especially on higher-ticket items, by researching across multiple online channels in order to make their money go further.”

IMRG Capgemini eRetail Index figures for July 2011
Industry quotes
Russ Carroll, UK Managing Director of Shopping.com, comments: “Home and garden sales showed strong growth in July suggesting people were spending more time at home perhaps forgoing a foreign holiday in the difficult financial climate. Clothing also showed strong growth as more and more consumers turn online to find the best fashion 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 membership@imrg.org

About Capgemini
With 115,000 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.
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.

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, Co-operative Travel, Crocus.co.uk, Dabs.com, Damart, Debenhams, 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, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Millets, 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://www.brc.org.uk/brc_news_deta il.asp?id=2014