Online retail sales topped £10bn in November

Online retail sales topped £10bn for the first time in the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index’s history in November, suggesting consumers did spend early on Christmas this year – but not on the high street.

Online shopping

The Index grew 20 per cent year on year and 30 per cent month on month, the highest monthly increase in 10 years, indicating shoppers were buying their Christmas gifts earlier than usual.

Retailers with both an online and high street presence reported a higher annual growth (23 per cent) compared with online-only retailers (16 per cent), spurred by festive shoppers looking to their usual high street brands when shopping online for gifts.

The launch of a variety of budget tablet devices, such as Tesco’s Hudl, and the release of new iPhone and iPad devices had a “significant” impact on the electrical sector in November. The sector recorded a 63 per cent month on month increase – another record growth since the launch of the Index.

The home and garden sector also recorded a particularly strong month, up 42 per cent year on year.

Chris Webster, vice president and head of retail consulting at Capgemini, says the strong results give a “clear indication” as to what the sector can expect to see during the peak shopping weeks in December.

He adds: “E-retail continues to be the growth engine of an otherwise struggling retail sector and as online spending exceeds £10bn in one month, we can see just how integral the online and mobile channels have become to the shopping experience.”

IMRG predicts more retailers will invest in tablet optimisation in 2014 as shoppers on those devices are more likely to convert browsing into a purchase than smartphone users. Spending on m-commerce rocketed 81 per cent year last month.

The IMRG Capgemini figures follow PwC research which found retailers were offering deeper discounts than last year in December as they battle to attract Christmas shoppers to their stores, indicating consumers are holding off their gift buying to take advantage of last minute offers.