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Online retail sales boosted by the little things in life

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The continued online demand for small ticket items such as clothing and alcohol further boosted e-tail sales in May, according to data released today.

IMRG & Capgemini’s latest e-Retail Sales Index shows trading online grew 18 per cent year-on-year to total £5.3 billion last month, a two per cent rise on April’s figure.

As has become the norm e-tail sales well out-performed trading on the high street, with the British Retail Consortium reporting earlier this month that bricks and mortar revenues fell 0.3 per cent year-on-year and down 2.1 per cent month-on-month in May.

“Online is continuing to set the pace in retail,” said Tina Spooner, Director of Information at IMRG.

“Since January the Index has grown 18 per cent year-on-year, which is in line with our forecast for 2011. However, we are seeing a pretty clear split between the sectors selling low-cost products and those selling high-value ones.”

Of the most popular products, clothing (including accessories & footwear) and lingerie online sales rose 24 per cent and 29 per cent respectively compared to last year, whilst alcohol e-sales grew 25 per cent year-on-year.

Home & garden items sales were the weakest in the month, increasing just two per cent year-on-year and actually falling four per cent compared to April, whilst sales of electrical items also only saw a modest rise.

Chris Webster, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology at Capgemini, added: “It is important to note the emerging disparity between the big ticket items, such as travel and electrical goods, and the less expensive items, like clothing and alcohol.

“As economy suffers, expensive purchases are increasingly seen as discretionary. By omitting the travel sector from the figures, the year-on-year growth increases to an even more impressive 21.5 per cent.”

The boost given to online shopping during the bank holidays and royal wedding in April was not as quickly dampened in e-tail as it was in the rest of the sector, but some are clearly profiting more then others.

When the e-sales of multichannel retailers are taken in isolation they show a growth of 23 per cent in May in comparison with the same month last year, whilst pure-play e-tailers only saw a nine per cent increase year-on-year and actually a decline of two per cent when compared with April.

Cameron McLean, General Manger for Merchant Services at Paypal UK, said: “More and more retailers are adopting a multichannel approach to their shopping platforms which has led to a 23 per cent rise in performance, demonstrating the benefits of giving consumers the flexibility of shopping when they want and how they want

“Multichannel is important for shoppers in terms of advantages of online and offline shopping.

“With many online shoppers still seeing the best value online and online retail sales figures increasing, a strong multichannel retailing strategy is essential for businesses to not only offer a range of options for shoppers but also to attract new shoppers.”

So far this year £25.7 billion has been spent online in the UK, and in May the average person spent £86 via the intenet.

Published on Wednesday 15 June by Editorial Assistant

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