The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that online spending is still at a record high, despite reports of falling consumer confidence and the tightening of debt markets. IMRG and Capgemini have discovered that UK consumers spent €16 billion in the first quarter of 2008 – an equivalent of €2655 for every person in the UK. Shoppers spent over 50 per cent more than the first quarter of 2007.
UK shoppers do not appear to be curbing their spending online as they are now spending a third more per online visit (€15) compared to five years ago. In addition, nearly €10.6 billion was spent online in the week of the Easter holidays, according to the Index.
Of the sectors that are broken out, the beers, wines and spirits sector saw a phenomenal surge in online sales in February and March – an increase of 60 per cent. According to the Index, this online sector is worth more than €870 million per annum. Online sales for clothing, footwear and accessories have also fuelled growth – people spent nearly a quarter (21.8 per cent) more in March compared to February. In contrast, electricals have only seen a small level of growth online for the first quarter of 2008.
Anthoula Madden, vice president at Capgemini UK’s Consumer Products and Retail Team says:’The poor Easter weather appears to have paid off for online retailers as more people seem to have spent more time inside, shopping online in March. Interestingly, people in the UK don’t appear to be curbing their drinking as the online beer, wines and spirits sector saw a huge increase in sales of more than 25 per cent in the first week of March alone. The looming budget may have spurred people on to stock up on alcohol before the increase in taxes.
The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index show that the future is not all ‘doom and gloom’ for retailers – yet it underlines that online is an essential channel for retailers to survive in such unstable conditions.’
Jo Evans, MD of IMRG, comments: ‘When the going gets tough, shoppers go online. We have seen this before during every downturn since the Index began, so can confidently predict that e-retail will buck the high street’s flatline trend and continue to grow strongly during the year ahead. Consumers are being extra careful with their money, so retailers are responding with highly competitive offers that the transparency of the online marketplace makes it easy for people to find. However bad the macro market conditions become, people still need to buy stuff, and smart retailers will continue to thrive online by squeezing more and more efficiency out of the channel.’