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Online retail growth remains steady

Online retail growth remains steady
Monday March 18 2013

E-retail Sales Index up 13% year-on-year in February, as mobile sales growth rate continues to slows while conversion rates rise

There was a steady performance for the online retail market in February as sales rose 13% year-on-year, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This is broadly in line with forecast made by the e-commerce trade body Index for the year as a whole (+12%).
While nearly all sectors recorded double-digit growth, the Index found average basket values were largely down with the exception of those linked to Valentine’s Day. The average spend for the gifts, health & beauty and lingerie sectors were up 36%, 8% and 9% respectively, while the average spend for the market as a whole was at its lowest since October 2008.

Mobile growth flattening, conversion rising

The monthly e-commerce sales figures also identified a drop in growth levels and higher conversion rates as two potential trends emerging around shopping through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).
Mobile sales in 2012 were up 304% on 2011. In February 2013 mobile sales were up 184% year-on-year, which is still very strong growth. But there has been a notable dip in the level of growth over the past few months, with December 2012 up 207% and January 2013 up 193%.
Over a similar period, the Index has seen conversion rates through mobile devices rise to a higher level and remain there consistently. During 2011 the average conversion rate via mobile devices was 1%, but one year later in November 2012 it went over the 2% barrier for the first time. It has not dropped below it since, hitting a high of 2.6% in January 2013 and coming in at 2.3% for February 2013.

E-retail holding its own despite economy
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “Online retail held its own in February, following a strong start to the year in January when the market was up 16%. Valentine’s Day clearly had a positive impact for e-retail with gift sales up 26% on February last year, and the average online gift spend reaching its highest level in over two years.”
Spooner added that the m-commerce growth rate has slowed by around a third over the last three months or so compared with 2012. She commented that this was perhaps inevitable, “after the boom in tablet sales last year that has no doubt driven it”. 

“As the use of mobile devices as internet portals has also become widespread, it has turned mobile into a viable sales channel as evidenced by the rise in conversion rate,” she said.
Peter Ahl, chief executive of IMRG member, suggested e-commerce shoppers were becoming evermore sophisticated in their e-commerce brand awareness. 

“We saw robust growth of over 30% compared to last February, which is one of the floral peak months of the year,” he reported. But he added: “The overall trend we are seeing is that consumers are becoming increasingly loyal to trusted brands with high levels of customer satisfaction rates, relative to peers. As the second largest online flower retailer in the UK, our sales from returning customers were up by more than 80%, whereas new customer sales were more modest, in both order size and new customer growth.”

Tagged as: E-retail Sales Index | e-commerce | mobile | m-commerce | retail | sales | IMRG | Capgemini | Serenata