Shoppers Flock Online in the Run Up to Christmas

| Press release
Online retailers defy current economic gloom.
  • 26% surge in November sales is the highest of the year
  • Online retailers defy the recession as sales grow by 16% year on year
  • Shoppers splurge on clothing, footwear and accessories as they prepare for the festive season

Figures released from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index today show that growth in online spending for November surged 26% on October. Despite difficult conditions, growth was up 16% on last year. Shoppers appear to be attempting to beat the recession in the run up to Christmas by heading online, with online retailers continuing to fare better than their high street equivalents.

Growth across the sectors

In November, for the first time this year, every sector tracked by the index saw positive monthly and yearly growth.

In particular, sales of shoes and accessories grew ahead of the Christmas party season, by 32% and 108% respectively. But the growth in sales of clothes (18%) failed to match this, demonstrating that shoppers may be updating old looks in favour of splashing out on a new wardrobe.

Consumers matched their online spending on party wear with alcohol purchases. Sales of beers, wines and spirits saw a strong monthly growth of 53%, as consumers prepared to get in to the festive party season.


Monthly change in IMRG Capgemini Index

Total Market








Electrical sector


Beers, Wines and Sprits





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

“The Christmas spirit is with us, but it seems clear that shoppers are being more considered than ever in making their generosity fit their budgets. The current climate is causing consumers to turn to the internet to help them make more informed value decisions and purchases.”

IMRG’s CEO, James Roper, commented: 

“While we would naturally expect to see a monthly increase in online sales during this time of the year, it is perhaps surprising that we are continuing to see yearly growth during these otherwise difficult times for retailers. This is a sure sign that high street retailers should look to diversify their activities by fully embracing the online space, as their customers have. Further evidence of this is seen within recent results from Hitwise, which found that many of the fastest growing retailers online are familiar high street names. [1] We expect the online sales figure to be even higher next month as people do their last minute Christmas shopping.”

Paul Frantz, Industry Head-Retail Google UK, added:

“For e-commerce marketers, keeping pace with the demands and interests of their customers presents a real opportunity to develop their competitive edge and invest in long term growth and profits in the most cost- effective way possible. The downturn in the economy is the first in the digital age and it is far from clear exactly how deep or lasting it will be. What is evident though, is that there is no slowdown in consumers’ adoption of e-commerce. The UK is Europe’s largest online market with residents already averaging 33 hours per month online. Search behaviour has also been impacted, with the search term “discount vouchers”, for instance, rising 94% in the last 30 days according to Google Insights .Online technology now offers a clear and unambiguous measurement of every pound, dollar or euro spent online. Businesses looking to react fast to current search trends or convert website visitors into buyers have powerful free tools at their finger tips like Google Analytics, Website Optimiser and Insights for Search.”

Quotes from retailers

Christian Robinson, Managing Director of said:

“Sales at Firebox in November were in line with expectations - due to the current economic climate, more and more shoppers are looking online as this is where they can find what they want more easily than the High Street and at the most competitive price. This month we have continued to see a shift in consumer product choice, highlighting the trend for people staying in, entertaining friends and thus investing in DIY and home entertainment products. For example, the USB Negative Scanner and the Giant Cup Cake Tin were big sellers for us in November.”  

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 86,000 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.  The Index has been re-based to reflect the size of the market.

Around seventy e-retailers regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd,, Arcadia Group,,, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Blacks,, Boots Direct, Brora,, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt,  Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative Travel,,, Damart, Daxon, Debenhams, e, EmpireDirect,, Firebox, First Choice, Furniture123,,,,,, Interflora, I Want One of Those, JD Sports, J D Williams, Jason Shankey, John Lewis Partnership, La Redoute,, Lighting-Direct,, M and M Direct, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, Millets, New Look, Next, Otto UK (Freemans, Grattan, Kaleidoscope),, Pixmania,, QED-UK, QVC, R C Roland, Redcats UK, Richer Sounds,, Shop Direct Home Shopping, Schuh, Serenata Flowers,, Wine, Tesco Electrical, The Fragrance Shop, The Jewellery Channel, The Sunday Times Wine Club, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Vertbaudet, Virgin Vie at Home, Waitrose, Wilkinson Hardware

Capgemini Press contact:

Tom Barton

Capgemini UK plc

Tel.:+44 (0)870 238 2491