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IMRG Managing Director Justin Opie – “Mobile has undoubtedly been the shining star. Last year it posted growth of 138% across a broad range of retailers”

IMRG Managing Director Justin Opie appeared on Jeff Randall Live on Sky News on Thursday, January 16. 

IMRG Managing Director Justin Opie appeared on Jeff Randall Live on Sky News on Thursday, January 16. Here is the interview in full:

Jeff: Joining me here in The Gherkin is Justin Opie, Director of the UK’s online retail association IMRG. Nice to see you, thank you for coming in.

Justin: Thank you.

Jeff: Now it’s a funny old story isn’t it – all those retailers who did badly over Christmas said that consumers were feeling the squeeze here, but all those who did well didn’t even mention it.

Justin: I think it comes down to the retail proposition, the channel plays a massive part in that process. Ultimately a retailer with a strong proposition and an integrated set of online channels is going to perform well. We saw a number of our members who have a mature and established mobile channel and an online channel, as well as a high street presence, do exceptionally well.

Jeff: Yes, that’s certainly been the narrative from John Lewis in recent years that company has always said “we need both, we need clicks and bricks they work together perfectly. Morrisons, which does not have much of an online offer has suffer, but Primark which has almost no online offer – another great set of numbers. How do you explain that?

Justin: I think it goes to show, and back to my original point, that if the retail proposition is right, customers will make the effort to purchase from them. For example, if you have a fundamentally flawed retail proposition, and that’s online, it still won’t work. Primark have a good business model, they have products that people want to purchase, at extremely competitive prices. They could still struggle to some extent with an online model because it’s a high volume/low margin business, but it just goes to show that a consumer will go to root them out.

Jeff: Indeed. If you look at the spread of results today, it was very broad: Ocado in food, Argos – general merchandise, Dixons – electricals, Primark – clothing. If you added all those up, does that add up to a real sign that the economy is recovering?

Justin: I think definitely. We’ve seen substantial growth in online year-on-year. In fact, in the 2013 figures we released recently for Christmas trading, it’s the first year since 2010 that the growth has actually increased year-on-year. I think absolutely that reflects the increase in confidence in the economy at large.

Jeff: We talk about online, but of course we mean something more than that don’t we? We mean mobile shopping…

Justin: In the context of generally-robust growth in online commerce, we’ve been looking at some really impressive growth statistics year on year. Mobile has undoubtedly been the shining star. Last year it posted growth of 138% across a broad range of retailers. We provide an industry benchmark, so this is a sort of aggregated growth statistic. It’s phenomenal. If you look at the make-up of that, approximately 80% of the sales over mobile devices are via tablets, 20% via smartphones, but growth in sales over smartphones is growing even faster than that of tablets.

Jeff: There’s a lot there for retailers to learn

Justin: A lot indeed

Jeff: Justin, nice to see you, many thanks

http://www.imrg.org/index.php