E-commerce in the UK had a rough start last year with its first ever quarterly single digit growth for online retail sales. Luckily 2016 is off to a better start with a welcome return to double digit growth (15%) in January and last month online sales turned out to be even stronger.
According to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index UK shoppers spent £8.9bn online in February. 18% more than last year earlier recording the highest year-on-year increase announced since June 2015.
The growth was very much driven by an especially strong month for online clothing sales which saw a significant year-on-year spike of 22%; its largest annual growth since June 2013.
– Following a strong performance in January, UK e-retail sales continued to accelerate last month, resulting in overall year-on-year growth of 16%, year-to-date. Although this is on the back of a relatively weak performance in Q1 2015, the latest results are impressive and are well ahead of our 11% growth forecast for 2016, said Tina Spooner, chief information officer, IMRG.
Mobile Sales Keeps Growing
The clothing sub-sectors enjoyed an equally solid result, with the sale of menswear and accessories increasing 31% and 35% respectively. The colder weather may have had an impact on sales with shoppers spending on winter-wear following the unseasonably warm final quarter of 2015.
However, online sales of electrical items dropped 17% month-on-month and recorded an annual increase of just 6%.
– The strong performance in clothing suggests retailer investments in breadth of range, flexible delivery and ease of returns may be paying off for this sector, said Richard Tremellen, Retail Insight and Data Specialist, Capgemini.
February also saw the continued disparity between sales made via smartphones and tablet devices. While smartphones recorded a healthy 92% annual growth, sales made on tablets grew by just 11%.
– It is evident the shift towards mobile devices continues, with smartphones accounting for over a third (34%) of mobile commerce sales during February. This is up from 24% in the same month last year, and reveals that smartphones have taken an additional 10% share of UK m-retail sales over the past year, said Tina Spooner.