Online shopping ‘fell 11% during Olympics’

20/09/2012

Olympic fever had a detrimental effect on UK online sales in the UK, which fell 11% during August, according to new figures. The study, from IMRG Capgemini, found that year-on year sales were up, but August’s sales marked a steep decline on the previous month of July.

UK shoppers spent £5.8bn on the internet high street in August taking the year-on-year increase in sales up by 11 percent, despite the month-on-month decline.

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"It is very common for August to see a slight decline in e-retail sales, but it is interesting to see just how much an added impact the Olympics had," said Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology, Capgemini UK, which compiled the research alongside industry association Interactive Media In Retail Group (IMRG).

"It will now be up to retailers to capitalise on the changing season, and make sure the correct strategy is in place as we enter the run up to Christmas."

Clothing, footwear and accessories sales were the worst hit, said the IMRG Capgemini UK report, with month-on-month sales dropping by 18 percent in August.

The only sub-sector in online retail to experience growth was gifts, which saw sales rise 2 percent on July. Year-on-year gifts sales rocketed by 48 percent.

On the physical high street initial signs are that sales were not given a boost by the London 2012 Olympic Games as some had hoped.

Footfall figures for London's West End, a retail hub, at the start of the Olympics showed that there had actually been a substantial decline in the number of customers walking through shop doors.

This may be partly down to the desertion of the city by much of the workforce, which had been encouraged to work from home during London 2012 to ease the pressure on the city's creaking infrastructure.

Industry Quotes

Omid Rezvani, Director of Mobile Solutions, eCommera comments: “August saw a further slowdown in year-on-year growth in mCommerce. Given the distractions of summer holidays and sporting moments this is not entirely surprising. That said, at 280%, mobile is still undoubtedly the fastest growing element of retail, and the bounce back in average conversion to 1.5% is an encouraging sign. It will be very interesting to watch the trends as we approach the peak trading period.

“For retailers seeking to capitalise on this growth the task of creating an optimum experience for every mobile customer is undoubtedly going to get harder. The tablet market in particular is likely to fragment with a range of keenly priced new entrants becoming available. Allowing customers to augment their on-the-move and in-store experience using their smartphone, whilst focusing on conversion through their tablet of choice should be the essence of every mobile strategy. “

Zak Edwards, CEO , Prezzybox comments: “Our sales during August were up 20% on the same month last year which is great!. However, times are still tough and the economic climate doesn’t appear to be recovering any time soon, but it really does focus the mind and the direction of the company. Whereas years ago we would do things which were “nice to do”, now everything we do has a cost / benefit analysis attributed to it. If there is no direct or indirect benefit on sales we don’t do it! Simples.”

Source: http://www.imrg.org

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