Online shoppers keep romance alive

| Press release
According to the latest figures from IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, Valentine’s Day has given a boost to the online retail sales.
  • Like-for-like sales up by 13% compared to February 2009.
  • Shoppers treat loved ones to Valentine’s gifts of lingerie and beauty products

Valentine’s Day gifts helped online sales to bounce back from a disappointing January, according to latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, with shoppers spending 13% more in February compared to last year. An estimated £4.1 billion was spent online in the month, compared to £3.6 billion in 2009. Online sales declined 4% from January, indicative of a seasonal fall following Christmas and competitive New Year promotions.

Valentine’s Day was given an added spark this year, as traditional gifts were traded in for more intimate purchases of underwear and perfume. The gifts sector (which includes items such as flowers and hampers) was down by a third (31%) in the week prior to Valentine’s Day, in sharp contrast to sales of lingerie and beauty products, which showed strong annual growth of 30% and 25% respectively.

Chris Webster, Vice President, Retail Consulting and Technology, Capgemini, said: “It is reassuring to see that romance hasn’t been lost in the recession, and shoppers clearly haven’t lost the love for online retail. The growth of less traditional sectors in February paints an optimistic picture of consumers picking themselves up following the doom and gloom of the last couple of years. Despite online retail’s maturity, it is still showing strong growth levels of 13%”.

Tina Spooner, Director of Information at IMRG added:
The double-digit growth in the Index during February is in line with our predictions for the e-retail market. Although overall gift sales declined last month, sales of health and beauty products and lingerie were strong in the run up to Valentine’s Day, which shows that the celebration of the most romantic day of the year is significant in the online retail calendar.”

Multichannel retailers’ online sales continued to grow against online only retailers’, with shoppers remaining loyal to high street shops with an online offering. Multichannel sales were up 24% year on year, whereas online only sales increased by only 4%. Multichannel retailers are also managing to grow the amount of visits to their sites that are converted into actual purchases. Like for like on February 2009, multichannel retailers average conversion rate was up by 11%, while there was no growth in the conversion of online only retailers like for like.

For further information please contact:Flora Hancox – 0207025 6576 (flora.hancox@redconsultancy.com)

Quotes from retailers:
Commenting on the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, Cameron McLean, PayPal’s General Manager for UK merchant services said: “Online sales often pick up in February as people get over the financial cost of Christmas and look for Valentine’s Day gifts. PayPal Offers, our discount and cashback site, saw an increase in click throughs to offers from florists and chocolate retailers in February. But we saw far more searches for iPhones and other mobiles than flowers, so a fair few Valentines may have woken up to a smartphone rather than a bouquet on the most romantic day of the year! 

Christian Robinson- MD of Firebox.com said: “Sales at Firebox.com for February were up on the same time last year, with Valentine’s Day gifts selling particularly well. It is encouraging to see more and more female friendly gifts in our top ten sellers with the Slanket still our number one product and the Love Tokens, Sparkling Gold Cuvee and the Mini Hottie HandWarmer also proving popular. Our aim to expand the business into the female gifts market seems to be working.”

Giles Harridge, co-founder of GettingPersonal.co.uk, comments:
Valentine’s Day ensures that February is traditionally a busy month for GettingPersonal.co.uk.  This year was no exception; we had a strong trading month with sales increasing by 20% YOY despite Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday. We sold more personalised gifts in 2010 than ever before with new designs driving sales of mugs and cards as well as engraved items.   Customers are clearly looking to purchase gifts which show that extra thought has gone into their choice – we make that process really easy for them.”  

Buyagift.com, an online provider of gift experiences, has comfortably exceeded growth targets set for February 2010. Alison Wade, Head of Marketing comments: “Buyagift.com saw a 32% increase in revenue compared to the same month in 2009, and over 67% growth in the amount of orders received compared to this time last year. With ambitious growth targets looking certain to be met for Q1, the company appears to be set for another bumper year.”

Debra Holmes, Managing Director of The Present Room said:
In the run up to Valentine’s Day we saw a very positive growth in sales. However, after 13th February sales dipped for the remainder of the month. “

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 ExperienceTM. The Group relies on its global delivery model called Rightshore®, which aims to get the right balance of the best talent from multiple locations, working as one team to create and deliver the optimum solution for clients. Present in more than 30 countries, Capgemini reported 2009 global revenues of EUR 8.4 billion and employs 90,000 people worldwide.
More information is available 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.

Over one hundred e-retailers regularly contribute to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Amara, Arcadia Group (Burton, Top Man, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis, Miss Selfridge), Ascension (formerly Adili.com), ASOS.com, Beautique.com, BeCheeky.com, Binends.com, Black Essentials, Blacks, Boden.co.uk, Boohoo.com, Boots Direct, Brora, Buyagift.com, BuyItDirect.co.uk, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt,  Clarks, Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative Travel, Crocus.co.uk, Dabs.com, Damart, Daxon, Debenhams, Dobbies, e-flowersUK.co.uk, Ethical Superstore, Faith Shoes, Figleaves.com, Firebox, First Choice, Freemans Grattan Holdings, Furniture123, Game, Gameplay, Gamestation, Getting Personal.co.uk, GreatValueJewellery.com, Greenfingers.com, Holiday Extras, Home & Cook, House of Fraser, Interflora, JD Sports, J D Williams, Jack Wills, Jason Shankey, John Lewis Partnership, Ladderstore.com, La Magia, La Redoute, Lastminute.com, Lighting-Direct, LK Bennett, Lookfantastic.com, M and M Direct, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, Millets, Monster Travel, Musto, Naked Wines, NaturalCollection.com, New Look, Next, Peacocks, Perfect Handbags, PetPlanet.co.uk, PIXmania, Prezzybox.com, QED-UK, QVC, R C Roland, Redcats UK, Redfoot Revolution, Richer Sounds, Rubber Sole, Sainsbury’s, Scales Express, Shoe-Shop.com, Shop Direct Home Shopping, Schuh, Serenata Flowers, Shudoo, Slurp.co.uk, SockShop, Sofa and Home, Sunshine.co.uk, Tesco.com, Tesco Electrical, The Fragrance Shop, The Health Supermarket, The Natural Store, TUI UK, Turton Wines, Vertbaudet, Vie at Home, Waitrose, Wallace Sacks & Wilkinson Hardware.