Christmas shopping fever seems to have struck British consumers earlier this year according to the e-Retail sales index from retail group IMRG and professional services firm Capgemini, which revealed that shoppers splashed out a record £10 billion on online purchases in November.
The figure, which is the highest-ever recorded by the Index in a single month, translates into a 30% rise in online spending compared to the previous month. The sum was also 20% higher compared with November 2012.
Shoppers were remarkably active online as heavy discounts lured their desire to equip themselves with the latest models of budget tablet devices or the new iPhone and iPad. The demand for flashy gadgets resulted in a 63% leap in sales generated by the electrical sector in November, the strongest monthly increase observed since the launch of the Index. Another sector that benefited from the pre-Christmas spending splurge was home and garden products, where annual like-for-like growth hit 42%. Retailers that operate both online marketplaces and physical stores witnessed a solid increase in sales, going up by 23% year-on-year, or seven percentage points more than the growth experienced by online-only brands. The rise was broadly fuelled by holiday shoppers buying products from their favourite High Street brands that were available online.
The Index also confirmed the uptrend in conversion rates for online retail, which recorded its strongest reading since April 2009, at 5.24%.
Online retail sales turned out to be better than previous predictions, spurred by high street retailers improving their multi-channel offerings, IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner said. According to Chris Webster of Capgemini, the results only hint at what we can expect to see during the busier December weeks.