Brits spend on home and wardrobe while travel sector slows

| Press release

Sunny spell and housing boom lead to new clothes and items for the home and garden

•    e-Retail sales in April jump 17% on 2013; an estimated £7.8 billion spent online
•    Warm weather sees clothing sector grow 17% year-on-year
•    Home and garden sector records 23% annual growth
•    Travel records just 6% annual growth

United Kingdom - The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index has revealed the impact the short spell of warm weather had on shoppers’ spending in April, recording an annual growth of 17%; equating to an estimated £7.8 billion spent online. This solid performance is a clear reflection of the ongoing consumer confidence in the UK economy and is in-line with IMRG and Capgemini’s forecast of 17% annual growth for 2014.

In terms of sectors, travel saw a significant dip in April, recording a disappointing year-on-year increase of just 6%. This is in contrast to the same period in 2013, which saw a much stronger 16% annual growth.
According to the Index, instead of spending on expensive holidays, British shoppers chose to update their wardrobes and purchase items for the home. As a direct result of the patches of spring sunshine experienced across much of the UK, the clothing and home and garden sectors recorded an impressive 17% and 23% annual growth, respectively. 
Health and beauty experienced a noteworthy surge in April, with online sales leaping 32% on the same time last year; its highest in nearly two years. Sales in alcohol also recorded a solid performance, particularly in the run-up to the Easter weekend, jumping 19% on March as shoppers prepared for family get-togethers.
Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer, IMRG, commented: “As the UK economy continues to pick up pace, it is evident that the online retail sector is also seeing positive trends during the recovery. For the fourth consecutive month we have seen annual growth in e-retail sales exceed the performance in the comparable period last year, resulting in overall growth of 17% year-to-date. The same trend is apparent in the number of browsers that convert to buyers, with average online conversion rates between January and April reaching a 5-year high.
A number of sectors outperformed the total e-retail market last month, including Home & Garden where sales rose 23% year-on-year, while sales of garden products surged 47% from April last year, no doubt boosted by gardening enthusiasts enjoying the milder weather towards the end of the month. Health & Beauty was also a strong performing sector with year-on-year growth surging 32% last month, its highest level in almost two years”.
Chris Webster, VP, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology at Capgemini, said: “April’s results perfectly illustrate the impact that sustained high levels of confidence in the economic recovery continue to have on our shopping habits as demonstrated by our investment in home and garden.  This combined with a spell of fine weather, following the wet winter months, has encouraged us to splash out on our summer wardrobes while putting off that foreign holiday.

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