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Growing consumer confidence results in promising start to 2014

Growing consumer confidence results in promising start to 2014
Friday April 4 2014

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed a better than expected performance for online retail in January. Whilst online sales took a 26% drop on December, a natural post Christmas dip, sales were up an impressive 18% on the same time last year, equating to an estimated £8.1 billion spent online.

The strong start to 2014 is tracking ahead of IMRG and Capgemini’s forecast of 17% growth for the year, and reflects an increase in consumer confidence. This has been further supported by an increase in the average basket value in January. Excluding travel, British shoppers spent an average of £78 online in January, up from £76 in December and £74 in January 2013.

Many of the sectors recorded growth in January, including home and garden up 21%; and health and beauty which recorded a particularly positive increase of 23% year-on-year. However, the travel sector saw the most impressive start to 2014, recording a monthly rise of 233%. While it is common for Brits to splash out on their holidays in January, this is the highest ever month-on-month growth the Index has recorded. The sector was up 16% on the same period last year.

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG: “The January Index results reveal a strong start to the year, with online sales growth ahead of our expectations.  While growth in the online clothing sector slowed to just 9% year-on-year, the average spend for this sector was up 6% on the same month last year, which may be an indication that retailers were discounting less following a strong performance over the festive trading period. The number of browsers converting to buyers reached the highest levels recorded in the month of January since 2009 and this, together with the 18% annual growth in e-retail sales, appears to be evidence that we are seeing an overall increase in consumer confidence.

“As we would expect, sales of travel peaked during January, however, the surge of 233% from December is the highest month-on-month performance ever recorded for this sector.”

Chris Webster, VP, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology at Capgemini: “As we settle in to a new year, with the shopping bonanza that was Christmas behind us, it is very reassuring to see such impressive results and is a clear indication that consumer confidence is being sustained. This will of course be welcomed by retailers and puts us in a very good position for a strong 2014.

“The high conversion rate recorded in January also demonstrates that retailers are continuing to evolve their digital platforms helping to secure sales by improving the customer journey from browsing right through to purchase.”