Online clothing sales benefit from bad weather

| Press release
Online sales have increased during April due to the cold weather
  • 85% jump in clothing sales online in torrential downpours, hail and thunder
  • Exceptionally cold April this year saw 20% jump in online footwear sales
  • UK shoppers spent over £90 million in July 07 when UK experienced heavy rain
  • 72% year-on-year growth – lingerie online sales booming

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveals that poor weather conditions appear to boost online clothing sales whilst driving people away from the high street. Snow and rain this April appeared to have encouraged online shoppers to spend nearly £326 million on clothes and online footwear sales saw a significant growth in sales of 20%. These figures drew a sharp contrast to sales on the high street – The British Retail Consortium reported that clothing and footwear fell further to their worst for at least 8 years[1].

This trend was further backed by the figures in July 2007 – the clothing, footwear and accessories sector shot up by 85% to over £90 million during the week of 16th July 2007[2] when the UK experienced torrential downpours, hail and thunder.  The UK also saw flood warnings this same week and the Index reported a dramatic increase in online sales for footwear of 165.

Even in light of the looming credit crunch, the online clothing sector is still growing at a high rate. Of notable interest, shoppers are turning to the internet when making more personal underwear purchases – the Index has seen online year-on-year sales for lingerie rise by 72%. According to Julia Reynolds, Chief Executive of Figleaves.com:

“The lean and fit will survive the credit crunch. Our experience tells us that retailers with strong brand values and a clear target customer will stand out during an unsure economic environment. To introduce changes in fashion seasons online, e-tailers need to communicate with customers what’s new and use various marketing methods, for example email alone is no longer sufficient.”

IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index for UK e-Retail Market: Clothing Sector

On the 8th Anniversary for the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, there has been a clear trend of how the internet has become an essential platform for survival.  The Index has been monitoring e-retail sales since April 2000, where more than £150 billion has been spent online by British shoppers in the 97 months. The beer, wines and spirits, clothing and electrical sectors have shown consistently strong annual growth. The Index also shows that the lingerie and footwear sector has experienced particularly strong growth in the past year, whilst health and accessories sales have remained at a constant level. 

Anthoula Madden, Vice President at Capgemini UK’s Consumer Products and Retail Team said:       

“The clothing sector is clearly seeing continued growth in online sales as shoppers appear to be avoiding the bad weather outdoors on the high street.  Our retail clients have continued to report strong online sales, even in light of the unsure economic environment. It is clear that online is a key survival channel for traditional high street retailers to ride out poor weather periods and tough trading conditions.”

Jo Evans, MD of IMRG, commented: 

“The diverging growth patterns of online vs. high street sales clearly show that shopping behaviour is changing fundamentally in favour of the internet. One hundred and fifty billion pounds is a staggering amount of money to have been spent in eight years through a shopping channel that did not even exist fifteen years ago.”

Notes to Editors

About IMRG

IMRG (Interactive Media In Retail Group) is the industry body 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 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

Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, enables its clients to transform and perform through technologies. Capgemini provides its clients with insights and capabilities that boost their freedom to achieve superior results through a unique way of working - the Collaborative Business Experience - and through a global delivery model called Rightshore®, which aims to offer the right resources in the right location at competitive cost. Present in 36 countries, Capgemini reported 2007 global revenues of EUR 8.7 billion and employs over 83,000 people worldwide.

More information is available at www.uk.capgemini.com.

About the ‘IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’

The IMRG Capgemini Index 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.

Approximately 60 e-retailers regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including;

247 Electrical, Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Ancestral Collections, Arcadia Group, ASOS.com, BeCheeky.com, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Boden.co.uk, Boots Direct, Buyagift.com, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt, Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative Travel, Crocus.co.uk, dabs.com, Daxon, Debenhams, e flowersUK.co.uk, EmpireDirect, Figleaves.com, Firebox, Furniture123, Game.net, GreatValueJewellery.com, Greenfingers.com, Interflora, I Want One of Those, J D Williams, Jason Shankey, John Lewis Department Stores, La Redoute, lastminute.com, Lighting-Direct, Lookfantastic.com, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, New Look, Next, Otto UK (Freemans, Grattan, Kaleidoscope), PetPlanet.co.uk, Pixmania, Prezzybox.com, QED-UK, QVC, R C Roland, Redcats UK, Shoe-Shop.com, Shop Direct Home Shopping, Schuh, Skinstore.com, Tesco.com Wine, Tesco Electrical, The Jewellery Channel, The Sunday Times Wine Club, TUI UK, United Co-op, Vertbaudet, Waitrose,  Wilkinson Hardware

Quotes from retailers:

Gary Berg, MD of Lighting Direct comments: “Our sales for April were up 32% against April of last year and we are still showing signs of this increase continuing. We have been a little more aggressive in our marketing this year which has contributed to the increase.”

Ulric Jérome, MD - France, UK, Ireland, Scandinavia for PIXmania.com, said: “Over the past six years our sales in the UK have grown tremendously, reflecting consumers’ enthusiasm for internet shopping! The IMRG Capgemini Index has tremendously helped us during all those years, helping us to understand the UK market and to context Pixmania’s performance in the marketplace.”

Nick Kalmus, Director at GreatValueJewellery.com comments: “We have enjoyed a continued annual increase in sales growth, customer base and international reach since we began operating in January 2004. With preparations underway for our fifth Christmas season, we are interested to see what effect the credit crunch will have on our customers’ spending this year. While we expect a slight drop in customer spending per item, we also expect an upturn in new customers, who continue to join the online shopping revolution for its savings, efficiency and ease.”


[1] BRC website; 13th May 2008; http://www.brc.org.uk/details04.asp?id=1 373&kCat=53&kData=2

[2] BBC Weather; 27th May 2008; http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/ukweather/y ear_review/july2007_review.shtml