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Published on December 16th, 2014 | by The GC Team


November online retail sales reach 14-year high

Online retail sales rose 37% month on month in November, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

The figure represents the largest October to November increase in the 14-year history of the Index.

Sales also increased by 20% compared to November 2013 – the biggest year-on-year growth rate in 2014 so far. Excluding Travel, growth was even more impressive at 22% year on year and 45% month on month.

Year to date, online retail sales are up 15%, and following a strong start to December with Cyber Monday this figure is expected to reach 16% at the end of the year, in line with IMRG and Capgemini’s 2014 growth forecast.

Overall, an estimated £12.1bn was spent online in November, with an average basket value, excluding Travel, of £78.

The record-breaking spike in online sales in November can in part be attributed to Black Friday, with sales up 44% in the week commencing 23rd November alone, compared with the previous week. November also saw the highest conversion rate of 2014, at 5.3%, suggesting that online shopping was more purposeful than usual.

Mobile commerce continued to grow in November, up 48% month on month and 80% compared to the same time last year. During the last week of the month sales via smartphones and tablets increased 82% from the previous week, almost double the rate of overall e-retail sales growth.

The best performing sectors in November included gifts, health & beauty and electricals, the latter growing 71% month on month and 22% year on year, and also representing the strongest increase between October and November in the history of the index.

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, said: “The unprecedented level of traffic to retail websites over Black Friday weekend resulted in a significant spike in online sales during the last week of November. In fact, sales on Black Friday alone surged 135% year-on-year as consumers flocked to retail websites on what turned out to be the busiest online shopping day of the year to date. Many retailers reported that Black Friday was their biggest ever day for online sales; however, some reported a slowdown in sales in the days leading up to Black Friday as consumers waited for discounts and promotions before starting their Christmas shopping.

“Although average spend per shopper was down about 9% from the previous month, overall estimated spend reached a staggering £12.1 billion in November and it looks like we are on target for another record-breaking Christmas with estimated spend set to break the £100 billion barrier by the end of this year.”

Adgild Hop, Principal and Head of Retail Consulting at Capgemini, said: “The mania around Black Friday has clearly driven profound sales results in November, in particular in typical Christmas gift categories such as gifts, beauty and electronics. We will need to await the December and January results to determine whether this has been truly incremental or merely earlier, and potentially lower margin, sales.

“In light of the fulfilment challenges that the industry has suffered post Black Friday, we will also be eagerly holding our breath as to whether retailers can indeed fulfil the increased home delivery and click & collect volumes for Christmas. Few things would be more damaging to loyalty than broken promises at this time of year.”

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Get Connected is the top trade journal for the UK electricals industry. Its website is the fastest, most interesting and up to date in the business.

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