Top 50 online retailers in the UK

16/08/2011

Clothing store Next was the highest riser amongst UK online retailers during July, according to the latest ‘Hot Shops List’ from Hitwise and IMRG. Travel websites bounced back this quarter with all of the major travel brands rising up the rankings since May 2011. One in five websites in the Hot Shops List this quarter came from the travel sector.

Having dropped out of the Top 50, cinema brands Odeon (ranked 37th) and Vue (44th) both returned to it this quarter. Cineworld also rose up the rankings in a strong three months for the movie industry.

16/08/2011

The fastest movers in the Hot Shops List during the last three months were: Travel Republic (up 18 places), Odeon Cinemas (+14), First Choice (+12), Travelodge (+12) and Cineworld (+9). Next was also a notable climber this quarter, moving up two places to 3rd in the Hot Shops List above Tesco and Play.com.

Entertainment retailers Play.com, HMV and GAME all fell in the rankings, revealing a decline in demand for video games, DVDs and CDs.

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Analysis:

Discount fashion brand Matalan was the success story of the quarter, up 15 places in the Hot Shops List since May. Matalan reached its highest ever position in the Hot Shops List , ranked 40th overall, up from 68th position in August 2010. The fashion and homeware retailer revealed in its Q1 trading statement that online sales had doubled compared with Q1 2010, and UK internet visits to the Matalan website reached record levels in July 2011, accounting for 2.14% of all visits to fashion retail websites.

Next was another fashion brand to perform strongly during this period becoming the third biggest retailer in the Hot Shops List. In the process of climbing to third spot in the August list, Next overtook Tesco, which fell to fourth place this quarter. Other supermarket brands also dropped down the rankings between May and August, including Sainsbury’s (down 5 places) and ASDA (-2).

Travel brands surged back up the list this quarter with Thomson the best performing travel brand ranking 10th overall. Travel Republic was the fastest moving retailer of the quarter, up 18 places to 28th in the list. Budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair also climbed the rankings as consumers booked last minute flights abroad. First Choice returned to the Top 50 after a dip in performance last quarter.

Robin Goad, Director of Research at Experian Hitwise commented: “Matalan has quadrupled visits to its website in the last three years and has seen record levels of traffic in the last month – so much so that it received 44% more visits in July than December, which is traditionally the biggest month of the year for online retailers. Next has also shown impressive growth to overtake online behemoths like Tesco and Play.com.

“Our data shows that Next has never been so dominant in online fashion with 1 in every 11 visits in July going to the Next website. As we expected, the travel brands rallied this quarter with June and July being key months for holiday, flight and hotel bookings. However, most of the travel brands are ranked lower this quarter compared to the same quarter last year, with notable exceptions being Travel Republic and British Airways. With big summer blockbusters including Transformers 3 and the final instalment of the Harry Potter franchise, it has also been a good few months for cinemas, with Cineworld the clear market leader in this industry.”

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, said: “Amazon UK and Argos have been heading up the list for a while now, but competition seems to be arriving from Next, who have made great gains over the past year, rising from 8th to 3rd in the space of just 15 months.

During the summer months the travel companies always perform well, although growth for some of them was more modest than last year. Two of them however, The Train Line and TravelRepublic.co.uk, have exceeded the rankings they achieved in summer last year.

Comparing the current rankings with those of 12 months ago, House of Fraser (+20), Sainsbury’s (+12), IKEA (+12) and British Airways (10+) put in some of the strongest performances in terms of traffic growth. There are also some clear downshifts, for example in the entertainment sector, although huge movie franchises such as Harry Potter resulted in some strong gains for the cinema groups.”

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