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£6 billion spent online during January

by on February 19, 2012 in Ecommerce, Latest News, Marketing, Online Advertising, Retail

A determined but slow start to 2012 for online retailers is led by the travel sector, experiencing a 205% increase on December

 The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that shoppers in the UK spent a total of £6 billion online during January and a year-on-year increase of 16%, maintaining albeit slowing growth.

 However, when compared with the High Street and wider retail sector, the internet trade body said the continued resilience of e-retail in the face of economic uncertainty is clear. Another industry body, the British Retail Consortium, reported a disappointing start to the year, with the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers indicating a year-on-year growth of just 2.1%.

Travel sector props up growth

Travel sales particularly rebounded in January following five consecutive months of decline, with sales soaring 205% on last December. But, for the first time since the sector was first tracked in December 2008, the average spend on travel also exceeded £1,000.

Outside of travel, January saw a steep decline on December, with alcohol reporting a drop of 66%, again as a potential ‘hangover’ from the festive season. The clothing sector saw a monthly decline of 38% and while, a drop in January across all sectors is typical, sales of clothing have recorded low levels of year-on-year growth for the third consecutive month.

 Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, stated: “There’s little cheer in these results for retailers. While the consumer price inflation is steadily decreasing, it has thus far failed to reinvigorate consumer spending. The steady march of customers moving from the High Street to online channels continues and if anything, accelerates as savvy shoppers look to make their wages stretch further.”

Clothing sales fail to take off

Tina Spooner, IMRG chief information officer, commented: “The January results reveal a solid start to the year for online retailers and there are several interesting factors we see from these figures. The first is the average travel spend exceeding £1,000 for the first time as, while many consumers look to curtail their expenditure on luxuries, the more affluent consumers can still look to treat themselves with an expensive holiday.

“The second factor is the lack of a small spike in spending in late December/early January, usually influenced by the post-Christmas sales initiatives. This could be due to the fact that heavily discounted products have been consistently available for months, so the introduction of a new sales period would have had less impact.

“Thirdly, there may be an emerging trend in the sales of clothing. In recent years, this sector has recorded average growth of over 20% but year-on-year growth, has slowed considerably in recent months, recording average growth of just 11% between November 2011 and January 2012.”

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