The IMRG/Capgemini E-Retail Sales Index said online retail sales grew by 18% in August, up from 9% growth in July when consumers opted for brick and mortar retail stores in the heatwave rather than their computers at home.
British consumers, suffering from a significant decline in incomes, are becoming increasingly optimistic about their prospects as the UK economy begins a recovery. Retailers have been hit with weak demand since the beginning of the financial crisis.
“Consumer confidence is returning as the economy is showing signs of improvement. Increased basket values and strong growth in apparel suggest retailers are increasing full price sales taking advantage of this increase in consumer confidence and seeing a healthy return,” said Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini.
“After a slow July, August has seen a return to the levels of growth we have come to expect from online retail and has, in fact, exceeded our year-on-year growth predictions by 3%.”
“An overall drop masks widespread variations, with only Scotland and the North and Yorkshire showing a higher rate than the UK average. The latter region has the UK’s highest vacancy rate, so there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic this month,” said Helen Dickinson, BRC director general.
“The UK economy has stagnated but ecommerce is clearly growing and, looking at our particular customer base, it is clear that people are realising the opportunities of this emerging sector,” said Christoph Rieche, CEO and founder of iwoca.
“One customer selling packaging materials on eBay increased his annual sales by 50% in just 12 months and we are seeing similar results across our customer base.”
The online retail market in the UK is set to reach a total sales value of £87bn in 2013, 12% year-on-year growth, according to researchers IMRG and Capgemini.