Online sales posted the weakest annual growth since January 2010, rising by just 9% in July, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
The Index, which gathers information from over a hundred retailers including Arcadia Group, also recorded the first ever negative growth between June and July of 2% for 13 years, following a 20% surge in annual growth in June.
“There is no doubt that the prolonged heat-wave had a detrimental effect for online retailers. Following the coldest spring in over 50 years, it is hardly surprising that Britons headed outside when the much-needed sunshine appeared”, said Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG.
For the first half of 2013 (January – June), the Index had performed well above expectation; the average growth was 16% against the forecast of 12% for the year. July was a ‘golden month’ for retailers who enjoyed the strongest rise in seven years with online and physical stores posting strong increases.
Despite a fall in sales, online-only retailers outperformed their multichannel counterparts in July. Online-only saw an increase of 13% year-on-year, while retailers, which have both a physical and online presence, recorded just 6% growth, the lowest reported by the Index for this group since IMRG and Capgemini started tracking it in 2010.
Weak year-on-year rises were recorded across most categories, including electricals (2%), health and beauty (3%) and travel (3%). Brits also spent less money online in July, with the average online basket value at £72, a fall of 15% compared with July 2012.
Consumers opted to improve their homes and gardens and took advantage of the hot weather as Home and Garden saw a huge 37% year-on-year rise in July. Beers, wines and spirits were also up 23 per cent year-on-year during the month. On a week-by-week basis, the week commencing 15th July saw total e-retail sales grow 25% on the prior week (8th July). This was boosted by the Clothing sector, which grew by 56% on the first week of the month, as retailers launched their seasonal promotions.
The M-Commerce Index grew by 129% year-on-year in July which was ‘slightly perplexing.’ Oliver Ripley, Mobile Product Manager, eCommera added: “This is perhaps due to the fact that many consumers chose to do their shopping while reclining in the garden on a deckchair or a hammock. What is clear is that hot weather favours m-commerce.”
The percentage of online sales completed through a mobile device (smartphones and tablets) has doubled in the space of a year, according to figures from IMRG and Capgemini.
In Q2 of 2012 the percentage stood at 11.6%, but by Q2 of 2013 it had exactly doubled to 23.2%. Over the same period the percentage of online retail site visits through mobile devices has also shot up sharply, from 21.1% in Q2 2012 to 34% in Q3 2013. The conversion rate via smartphones and tablets improved over the past year and was 2.5% in July.
Source: IMRG press releases