Online retail enjoys strong September after disappointing August

Online retail sales in the UK have returned to double digit growth in September, the latest figures from IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Index show.

Compared to the same period last year, online retail has seen a 12 per cent increase. The Index has grown 10 per cent during the third quarter of 2015, and as the sector prepares itself for the busy Christmas period, the year-to-date growth also remains at 10 per cent, a follow-up press release says.

The biggest growth was registered in the home sector department, with an increase of 47 per cent year-on-year. The iPhone 6S release apparently boosted the electrical sector. After a disappointing 2015, it saw a spike of 6.4 per cent in September.

The September performance was also boosted by the late Summer Bank Holiday which fell within the first week of the month, helping the Index grow 8 per cent on August, although growth was still slightly lower than might have been expected.

The Indian summer experienced in many parts of the country was likely to have been a contributing factor. Parents updating back-to-school wardrobes helped the clothing sector to record 12 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth, though that was on top of flat September growth in 2014 – the warm weather was probably an influence there, holding back shoppers from buying autumn-wear.

Alex Smith-Bingham, Head of Digital, Consumer Products and Retail, Capgemini, commented: “Whilst it’s reassuring to see the Index return to double digit growth, it’s not as strong as the sector would have liked. With the Rugby World Cup, the warm weather and the late Bank Holiday, retailers could be forgiven for expecting a better performance in September. As we approach the busy Christmas period, and with Black Friday just a few weeks away, it will be interesting to see whether British shoppers have intentionally held back for the heavy discounting the festive season brings.”

Sales made via mobile devices (either a smartphone or tablet) saw an annual increase of 41 per cent in September. Year-to-date, it has grown 43 per cent in 2015, compared to 46 per cent at the same point in 2014.