Growth story continues for UK e-tail


May 18, 2016 | By RetailME Bureau

Online continues clocking double-digit growth this year spelling good news for UK retail at a time when lacklustre high street sales dampen retailers’ spirit.

In April online retail saw an 11% year-on-year growth, indicates British industry association for online retail, IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index.

Even though e-tail is seeing growth, April’s figures were the lowest year-on-year growth rate so far in 2016. Sales I believed to have been hampered slightly with Easter falling earlier this year, in March.

Among the retail categories, clothing/apparel recorded a 15% annual increase in sales, driven by the continued consumer appetite for accessories and footwear which reported respective year-on-year increases of 25% and 19%. Lingerie performed most impressively, rising up to 32% year-on-year – a 19% growth on the previous month.

Other sectors that performed well include gifts that rose 16% year-on-year, and home and garden, up 13%. Smartphone sales continued to surge, growing 83%, at the expense of tablet sales that rose around 3%.

“The growth in April was probably slightly ahead of where we may have anticipated given the cold weather, with a number of sectors outperforming the total market, including apparel where sales growth was up over 15%. Year-to-date, overall e-retail growth is actually 2% ahead of our 11% growth forecast for 2016,” shares IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner.

“A definite trend we have been recording so far this year is the displacement of sales from tablet devices – with sales growth just 3% through these devices – over to smartphones, where sales continue to be very strong. Larger mobile screens and better optimised sites seem to be working to increase confidence in using these devices for a wide range of activities,” Spooner adds.

“This was a tough month for retailers as their performance was up against Easter 2015, which fell in April last year. They were also hampered by the heavy rainfall discouraging shoppers from purchasing the seasonal items that traditionally drive the Index. However double-digit growth is still very respectable, and May is expected to be even stronger,” opines Bhavesh Unadkat, retail customer engagement and loyalty SME, Capgemini

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