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Slow growth of ecommerce in the UK

The slow start to the year for online sales continued in February. Year-on-year sales went up by 6%, while in February 2014 an annual growth of 18% was recorded. Last month the online sales also decreased by 12% compared to January.


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The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed this. It also shows that online clothing sales were up just 4% year-on-year. Of course, this means growth, but the growth was much lower than it was one year ago, when this sector recorded an annual growth of 20%.

February is generally not a bad month for some retailers, who see their sales surge before the 14th. Valentine’s Day boosted sales in sectors that are traditionally associated with romantic presents: the online gifts sector grew by 30% month-on-month and even 28% year-on-year. The lingerie and health & beauty sectors grew by 22% and 19% respectively year-on-year.

A part of ecommerce that may have nothing to do with Valentine’s Day directly, the online alcohol sector, also saw some strong growth last month. Online sales went up by 42% compared to the same period last year, making this the highest annual increase recorded for this sector since April 2011.

Multichannel retailers perform better than online-online players

According to Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, the ecommerce market in the United Kingdom has seen a relatively weak start to the year, but the latest results show that some lower-ticket sector performed well during last month. “It is interesting to see that the high street / multichannel retailers have seen a stronger start to 2015 than their online-only counterparts, with online retail sales up 8% year-to-date, while the latter group have recorded just 2% year-on-year growth.

Spooner also explains however that when looking at the mobile commerce performance of the multichannel retailers and the online-online players, it’s clear that the pureplay merchants are ahead. “With annual growth in sales via smartphones and tablets reaching an average of 89% over the past six months, almost three times the growth rate is recorded by the multichannel retailers.”

Source: @virtualstock
Source: @virtualstock

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