E-tail shows signs of maturity

E-commerce in the UK has got off to a mixed start this year, according to industry body IMRG.

The January IMRG e-retail sales index, based on the sales figures of 54 e-tailers, indicates total UK online sales for the month were worth &£415m – 17 per cent less than December’s &£500m. The fall is much smaller than equivalent high street sales, but it is in sharp contrast to the previous year’s index pattern, in which January 2001 sales were ten per cent more than those for December 2000.

Moreover, January 2002’s index level was only three per cent above that of October 2001, whereas in the previous year, January’s figure stood 46.5 per cent higher than October 2000.

Most of the participating e-tailers were pleased with their January figures, says IMRG. Argos operations director Peter Jones says: “The change in the sales pattern suggests the market for online sales is maturing and will probably continue to map the normal cyclical retail trends.”

Jaap Favier, research director of Forrester’s European Research Centre, says that September 11 distorted consumer spending as bargain hunters flocked to the Web.

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