NEWS2 August 2018

Online retail boosted by seasonal spending

Leisure & Arts News Retail Technology Trends UK

UK – Online retail sales in the UK grew 16.8% year-on-year in the first half of 2018, despite signs of a slowdown, according to the Capgemini IMRG e-Retail Sales Index.

A credit card and cart icon, representing online shopping

Despite the Arctic weather spell in the UK earlier in the year, online retail still grew by 15.3% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, the online sales tracker found, and showed an overall index growth average of 18.2% for the second quarter. 

The garden sector experienced the largest growth in online sales, according to the index, at around 24.9% higher than the first half of 2017, likely explained by the recent heatwave and the World Cup.

Clothing also saw an uplift in the first half of the year, with 17.1% more sales than the same period last year. Mobile shopping also helped to drive a boost to online retail, with spending via smartphones up +39% against 2017 during Q2.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, said that positive spend in the first half of the year due to events such as the World Cup and the royal wedding could lead to a spending slowdown later in the year. “We could see a pinch on shopper spend as we move through Q3 – though the weather in July has been incredibly hot – which may lead to an imbalance in online retail growth between the first and second halves of the year.”

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement at Capgemini, said: “Despite online-only retailers outperforming multichannel retailers during most of H1, with average growth at +18.6% and +14.7% respectively, multichannel actually closed the gap on last year’s year-on-year growth. It demonstrates the continued importance of an omnichannel presence for retailers – a focus on connected retail will help ensure that the e-commerce sales performance outlasts the good weather.”

Earlier this week, the Consumer Confidence Barometer published by GfK reported a decline in July despite good weather and sporting events.