Online retail experiences seasonal dip in August

| Press release
Figures released today show that growth in online spending slowed in August but market continues to expand.
  • August figures show year on year growth despite seasonal dip
  • Back to school shoe sales help footwear buck trend

Figures released from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index today show that growth in online spending slowed in August although the market continues to expand and is now 15.1% higher than at the same point last year. The Index reveals that after a strong July, all sectors, except footwear and accessories, experienced negative month on month growth.

School shoes and small treats

The start of the new school year boosted sales of shoes with online sales rising 7% month on month against a fall of 9.8% for the Index overall in August. A jump in growth in sales of accessories of 18% is attributed to shoppers turning to smaller items to spruce up existing wardrobes in preference to an entirely new outfit.

Seasonal variation

Indicating an increasing maturity in the online retail space, a seasonal pattern is starting to emerge that more closely mirrors overall retail sales both offline and online. For both 2007 and 2008 the index has fallen in August by approximately 10% as opposed to the slight positive or flat growth recorded in the past.


Monthly change in IMRG Capgemini Index

Total Market


Clothing, Footwear, Accessories






Electrical sector


Beers, Wines and Sprits





Mike Petevinos, Head of Consulting for Retail at Capgemini UK, said:       

“The results for August demonstrate the maturing of e-retail.  Online sales are starting to mirror more closely seasonal retail patterns, experiencing a dip in August for the second year running.  Similarly, whilst year on year growth continues to be strong at around 15% it does reflect the market’s progression up the maturity curve and away from the 60%+ growth rates we’ve seen in the past.  It is important to acknowledge the inevitable impact of faltering consumer confidence, with shoppers opting for lower cost accessories in preference to big ticket items.”

Jo Evans, Managing Director of IMRG commented:

 “Despite the continuing problems in the UK economy, it is heartening to see online shopping’s continuing double digit annual growth. More than anything this reveals the continuing maturity of the online marketplace and the extent to which consumers’ buying behaviour has moved towards embracing the internet for their general day to day shopping, as well as the more esoteric gifts and products.  As everybody’s attention is drawn towards doing more with less, the internet’s large potential for improving each aspect of retail choice, service and efficiency, will increasingly bring it into competition for every pound of every shopping basket.”

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

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.

Around sixty e-retailers regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including 247 Electrical, Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Ancestral Collections, Arcadia Group,,, Berry Bros. & Rudd,, Boots Direct,, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt, Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative Travel,,, Damart, Daxon, Debenhams, e, EmpireDirect,, Firebox, Furniture123,,,, Interflora, J D Williams, Jason Shankey, John Lewis Partnership, La Redoute,, Lighting-Direct,, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, New Look, Next, Otto UK (Freemans, Grattan, Kaleidoscope),, Pixmania,, QED-UK, QVC, R C Roland, Redcats UK,, Shop Direct Home Shopping, Schuh,, Wine, Tesco Electrical, The Fragrance Shop, The Jewellery Channel, The Sunday Times Wine Club, TUI UK, United Co-op, Vertbaudet, Waitrose and  Wilkinson Hardware.

Quotes from retailers:

Christian Robinson, Managing Director of comments: “Due to the current economic climate we have found that more and more people are buying products that can be enjoyed with friends at home. This reflects on the latest trend of saving money by staying in. Products linked to home entertainment such as the USB VHS Converter, the Air Guitars, USB Drums and Pizza Oven sold well for Firebox in August.”

Dominic Yacoubian, Managing Director of said: “We’re seeing that people are going for what they need and not what they want.” He added: “Buyers now are mums with a limited amount to spend and they’re choosing the safe and ‘green’ option.”

Anna Bacon, Head of Marketing at Lookfantastic, said: “At Lookfantastic we have had a successful August, and in fact sales have been up year on year every month since the start of the year. We feel that this is due to the faster speed of the site, plus improved SEO and site performance. We have also grown our database substantially over the past year, along with the number of brands available on site – all of which contribute to an increase in overall performance.”

Alison Wade, Head of Marketing at Buyagift, said: “As with every other month of the year so far,’s August turnover and order figures were a vast improvement on last year’s. Our theme park ticket sales were extremely strong throughout the school holiday period, despite the consistently less than perfect weather, with August sales up nearly 40% on 2007’s figures. With the web site and third party resellers performing so strongly over the traditionally quieter summer period, the outlook for the up and coming fourth quarter is undoubtedly positive.”