Online sales have soared despite the recession, as people turn to the Web to save money, according to new research. The data, from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, indicates that shoppers spent £4.2 billion online in July, 15.7% more than was spent in June and 16.8% more than July 2008. The driving force for the increase appeared to be the clothing, footwear and accessories sector, which showed growth of 18% month on month and 17% year on year. The report suggested that in the last six months consumers have been encouraged by new summer lines and heavy discounting and promotions.
Clothing retailers have also been effective in turning more visits to their websites into final purchases in July, due to more sophisticated targeting strategies to shift summer stock for autumn fashions.
Tina Spooner, Director of Information at IMRG comments: “Online retail continues to outperform the high street with e-retail growth in July exceeding the yearly growth seen in July 2008. Fashion and electrical retailers reported strong growth and these remain the key drivers of the UK e-retail market.
It is evident that online merchants are becoming more sophisticated in their marketing efforts and email communications to their customers, the result of which can be seen in higher conversion rates, particularly in the clothing sector.”
Online sales of electrical items also rose – up to 11% from June – with twice as many men shopping online compared to women.
Cameron McLean, of online payment service PayPal, said: “Men love the quick and efficient nature of the internet, especially when it comes to buying technology and gadgets.
“Men are also spending more online than women. The average online spend over the last six months was £2,602 for men compared to £1,930 for women.
“Men, in fact, spent more than women in every category except groceries and clothing, suggesting that the female pound is still responsible for the growth in online sales of clothing, accessories and footwear year on year.”
The report also showed that sales of alcohol online tumbled in July, as drinkers were forced to cancel picnics and barbecues due to heavy rainfall. Sales fell 15% month on month and 23% year on year.