Online shopping in April: Top e-tailers give their views


The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed continuing strong growth for online sales in April, with shoppers in the UK spending a total of £5.2 billion online, a significant 19% more than April 2010 and equivalent to £84 per person. In this article, key figures form the UK online retail sector talk to the IMRG about their views on the current market.



Key findings from the latest IMRG report include:

• £5.2 billion spent online during April; year-on-year increase of 19% as strong start gathers pace
• Bank holidays boost alcohol sales, with average order reaching £174, nearly double April 2010
• Travel sector suffers as rising temperatures and Royal Wedding persuade Brits to stay at home
• Clothing sector up 32% year-on-year as early sunshine prompts changes in wardrobe
Michael Norton, managing director,, says: “The online retail industry continues to go from strength to strength despite the plight of the high street. Our data showed a 45% increase in the number of transactions compared with the same time last year as well as an increase of 34% in consumer spend. It is likely that the combination of the bank holiday weekends and the Royal Wedding has fuelled growth in the sector as consumers seek to avoid the crowds and shop at their convenience.”

Russ Carroll, UK Managing Director of, comments: “Consumers clearly enjoyed the holiday atmosphere that hit Britain in April. The early sunshine and April Bank Holidays helped to maintain strong growth for the e-retail market and continued to see high demand in its leading categories of health & beauty, clothing and baby care & toys. It's encouraging that consumers continue to turn online in order to stay shopping savvy and get the best value for money and choice, from the convenience of their own homes or indeed while on the move using mobile apps.”

Rowan Gormley, Founder of Naked Wines, said: “We need more royals and more weddings! Never in the history of extended bank holidays has so much rose been consumed by so many, so fast. We were over 100% up on previous year and 38% up on the previous month.”

Brett Dawson, owner of Turton Wines, said: “There were happy faces at Turton Wines in April this year, with the early thaw bringing a huge boost to internet sales. Happily, whilst the number of customers rose, so did the average value and the number of bottles ordered. This triple whammy meant a big surge in the online sales value with a 275% increase from April 2010. We put this down to the summery weather with a large increase in white and rose sales but also to the Royal wedding. Prosecco in particular was in big demand and so were Champagnes from the smaller houses rather than the big named brands. We hope the anticipated summer heat wave said to arrive late May will also have a positive effect on sales, both over counter and internet alike. The increase of Eastern Europeans and their styles and influences has also had a positive effect on sales with wines from Georgia being responsible for over 60% of internet sales.”

Mark Brunel-Cohen, director of, comments: “ finds that it operates in a slightly niche sector of the wine market. Sales are not generally influenced by the normal stimuli of season, weather or events. Having said that, the sales this April against last year showed an increase of 22%. Although not as great as the Index as a whole, this performance is very satisfying and continuing growth of traffic to the website suggests momentum continues.”

Chris Simpson, Marketing Director, Kelkoo, comments: “Spring is in the air for the online retail sector as they reap the rewards of a bumper bank holiday season and the buoyant mood brought on by the Royal Wedding. Our own research concluded that the royal nuptials would provide online retailers with an added boost of £90.7 million, thanks to the nation splashing out on celebratory street parties, merchandise, and souvenirs and the latest figures from the e-Retail Sales Index bear this out with the 19% surge in online sales seen year on year. All this provides solid evidence that consumers really have learnt some valuable lessons from the financial downturn and are shopping online to get the best deals across a range of retail goods.”

Angus McCarey, UK Retail Director for eBay, said: "Mirroring the strong performance of clothing across e-commerce in April, overall monthly sales on eBay were boosted by sales of summer fashion accessories, as shoppers made the most of the good weather. We continue to see market-beating performance in our UK fashion category where year-on-year sales grew by 30% in 2010."

Mark Lewis, CEO of Collect+, said: “Public holidays are an occasion when alternative delivery services really come into their own: Collect+ processed four times as many parcels in April 2011 than it did during the same period last year. Many small businesses and individuals cannot wait until the working week to be able to send a parcel or package, but the traditional services usually cease to operate on these days. Collect+ is going from strength to strength as the appetite for a more convenient and flexible service increases among the busy population.”


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