Online sales off to strong start in 2013
E-retail Sales Index up 16% year-on-year in January, while mobile growth rate slows but conversion rate is on the rise
The online retail market has got off to a strong start in 2013, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
The Index recorded 16% year-on-year growth in January, which represents a month-on-month decline of 27% on December 2012, following the common trend of contracting after the peak Christmas shopping period.
Clothing, travel and mobile highlights
The clothing sector continued to perform well following a largely disappointing 2012, with sales of seasonal ranges affected by unpredictable weather patterns. The sector was up 23% on January 2012, the highest for the sector since July 2011.
Sales in the travel sector were up just 7% year-on-year in January, which was below expectation as consumers begin to book their summer holidays after the New Year. This compares with annual growth of 16% in January last year and 31% in January 2011. However, at the same time the average spend for the sector hit an all-time high last month of £1,085.
The growth of retail sales through mobile devices (including tablets) showed signs of slowing last month, though they were still up 193%. Mobile sales in 2012 were up 304% on 2011, though in December 2012 growth slowed to 207%. Conversion rates through mobile devices are rising however, reaching 2.6% in January. This is the second month that the conversion rate hit a new record, following the 2.1% recorded in December 2012.
Weather and m-commerce impact
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “The strong finish to the year we saw in 2012 has continued into the new year it seems, with the Index up 16% on January 2012. The clothing sector struggled at times last year in comparison with its performance in previous years, but we’ve had seven months of double-digit growth now, so perhaps it was a blip caused by the heavy rainfall we saw throughout 2012.
“The growth of mobile sales may be showing signs of slowing, but it is coming from a very high base and 193% is still very strong. What is apparent is that consumers are becoming more confident in purchasing through mobile devices, as the experience on mobile sites improves. The conversion rate has doubled in the space of a year, rising from 1.3% in January 2012 to 2.6% in January 2013.”
Chris Webster, vice president of consumer products and retail at Capgemini, commented on the mobile statistics: “More of us are seeing our smartphones and tablets as the smarter choice for shopping, with the proportion of direct purchases from mobile devices doubling in the space of a year. Growth may be slowing as mobile shopping becomes ubiquitous, but don’t mistake this for a decline. Mobile commerce is here to stay. We’re no longer just seeing consumers shopping from their sofas at home, but instead spotting products instore and choosing to instead purchase online on the grounds of cost or convenience.”