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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Bad weather prompts electrical goods summer surge

Friday September 24 2010

Electrical goods see year-on-year growth and a 10% increase from July Travel sector sees more travellers seek online deals

Electrical goods see year-on-year growth and a 10% increase from July

Travel sector sees more travellers seek online deals


The latest results from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that British shoppers spent a total of £4.4 billion pounds online during August.


The Index saw a 15% increase compared to August 2009, and year-to date e-retail sales were also up 15% on the same period last year, above the predicted growth of 13%. Evidence of the increased popularity in online retail was seen this week, with Boden, the mail-order clothing brand, reporting a 16% increase in pre-tax profits.


The surge in electrical goods, which saw a year-on year growth of 28% and a 10% increase in online sales from July, is attributed to the coolest August for 17 years according to the BBC Meteorological Office, persuading consumers to stay at home, indoors.


Electricals grow online trust


Significantly, the Index shows that based on the average basket spend, British consumers spent more on electrical goods online, in August (£211), than any other month in 2010. This is the first time the average spend on electrical goods exceeded the £200 mark since October 2007.


The Index said that poor weather had an impact on the travel sector too. Despite the average basket value of just £580, compared to £652 in August 2009, the number of holidays bought online saw a year-on-year increase of 14%.


The report also highlighted that August was a particularly strong month for multi-channel retailers, showing a year-on-year growth of 25%, suggesting High Street brands are recognising the overwhelming benefits of a strong online offering.


Chris Webster, Capgemini vice president and head of retail consulting and technology, said: “August was an interesting month for the Index; highlighting some unique sector spikes and a good overall performance for online retailers. Several factors could be attributed to the impressive jump in online sales for electrical goods, including the introduction of high-tech home entertainment systems and the poor August weather.


“The weather and the need for holiday providers to lower their prices to tempt travellers into last minute bookings are the most likely reasons behind the growth in the travel sector.”


Anticipating consumer trends better


Tina Spooner, director of information at IMRG, commented: “With 31 million UK consumers now shopping online, the internet continues to be a lucrative channel for retailers that can adapt to shoppers’ changing behaviour during these uncertain times.”


Jonathon Brown, head of online selling at John Lewis, commented: " had another great month with sales up over 30% with all categories posting fine performances. We also saw a real surge in traffic through the site and good progress in market share according to Hitwise.”


Brown added: "There were a number of highlights, however the ones to pay specific attention to include a remarkable performance across our fashion directorate which saw sales +100% on last year, this is a continued testament to the work we have been doing in driving our online fashion business forward with recent launches including G-Star and Diesel. Home also delivered an impressive performance with a 40% increase in sales on 2009 with all areas outperforming last year. Most notable though was furniture with great sales in our bedroom category and fantastic performances across lighting. Our electricals business also saw a good year-on-year performance boosted by newness including the iPad, new Garmin Satnav and a host of small electricals.”


David Stratton, head of sales at, commented: "August saw a continuation of positive year-on-year online growth, bolstered by the coldest August in the UK since 1993 and twice the average monthly rainfall in some areas.


“Specifically, airport parking bookings increased +13% year on year (July +7%), airport hotel bookings +7% (July +4%), and overall +9% (July +5%). There was strong growth regionally, including Liverpool (+41% year-on-year), Luton (+34%) and Manchester (+29%). These regional successes compare well with Gatwick (+5%) and Heathrow (+10%).”