Online retail sales rose 16 per cent year-on-year last month, driven by clothing sales despite the freezing weather, new figures released today reveal.
Contrasting strongly with poor clothing sales across the high street, online clothing sales jumped 15 per cent on the same period last year, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, ahead of predictions of a 12 per cent rise.
Explaining the figures, IMRG’s Chief Operations & Policy Officer Andrew McClelland said: “Unseasonal weather patterns can impact some online retail sectors just as much as on the high street, so with the freezing weather in March it was a real surprise to see the clothing sector perform well.
“In 2012 for example, we saw the wettest April on record and the online clothing sector was badly impacted, recording its lowest ever growth of one per cent.
“What this demonstrates is that e-commerce is fairly unique in the retail industry, as it doesn’t always reflect analysts’ expectations; online shopping is so engrained in the culture now, the market seems to keep up its double-digit growth irrespective of potentially disruptive external factors.”
Overall, online sales climbed 15 per cent year-on-year over the first quarter of this year.
Mobile sales reached their highest levels since November 2012, up 243 per cent in spite of a conversion rates drop of 0.5 per cent compared with February this year, suggesting that shoppers use mobile devices to research products rather than solely for purchases.
Chris Webster, VP, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology at Capgemini, commented: “Despite the various challenges currently facing the wider retail sector, such as the weather and its subsequent impact on high-street footfall, online is continuing to show its resilience.
“While the sector may at times slow or report a marginal annual increase, overall growth for both online and mobile has been relentless.
“As retailers continue to develop multichannel offerings and improve mobile services in line with an ever evolving technology, the high-street will struggle to match the performance of their online counterparts.”