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Online sales beat expectations in 2010


Total online sales in the UK grew by 18 per cent year-on-year (a four per cent rise on expectations) to £58.8 billion in 2010, according to data released today.

IMRG and Capgemini’s latest e-Retail Sales Index shows December was the key month for e-tailers last year with £6.8 billion spent online, equating to a monthly rise of seven per cent and a jump of 25 per cent compared to the same month in 2009.

Concerns that heavy snow during the month would deter consumer from internet shopping due to delayed deliveries were not realised, as £111 per person was spent through online retailers.

James Roper, CEO at IMRG, commented: “December saw an incredible jump in online sales as a result of the weather conditions and it’s reassuring to see that despite the coverage of delivery problems, consumer confidence was not affected.

“Growing confidence and reliance on e-retail during times of adversity, whether that’s harsh weather conditions or belt-tightening as a result of the economy, has been reflected in the impressive growth throughout 2010.”

Sales for 2011 are expected to total £69 billion, a growth of around 18 per cent compared to the year just past.

The sectors with the strongest growth in online sales during the month were clothing & footwear and alcohol, with a 40 per cent year-on-year increase for the former and a 32 per cent month-on-month boost for the latter.

Clothing trade was helped by the cold weather as consumer rushed to buy winter coats and chunky scarfs, which helped the sector see its strongest growth in 19 months and a huge 50 per cent rise in conversion rates.

Those retailers which performed best over the festive period, such as John Lewis and Sainsbury’s, also saw big gains in their online business reflecting its increasing importance to the industry.

Jonathon Brown, Head of Online Selling at John Lewis, said: “We’ve had an outstanding Christmas and clearance period in 2010, and there’s no doubt was a vital part of that success.

“Online sales for the five weeks to January 1st 2011 were 42 per cent up on last year, and it was particularly pleasing to have achieved several trading records.”

Published on Friday 21 January by Editorial Assistant

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