Online spending topped £100 billion for the first time in 2014, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
£104bn was spent online in 2014 and the index grew 14 per cent on 2013. For 2015, IMRG and Capgemini forecast it will record a further 12 per cent growth, with total e-retail sales estimated to be worth £116bn by year end.
A fifth of the total (£21.6bn) was spent in the Christmas shopping period – defined as the eight weeks between 2nd November and 27th December. This was 13 per cent up on the same period last year.
But much of that was accounted for by the discounting in the week of Black Friday. As a result, e-retail during December recorded just five per cent year-on-year growth – the lowest ever in the index for this period.
Adgild Hop, principal, head of retail consulting, Capgemini, said: “2014 has been an important milestone for the online retail sector, with the £100 billion mark being exceeded for the first time. When we consider that almost £1 in every £4 is now spent online, and that a large proportion of the other £3 is influenced by some form of digital interaction, it becomes very clear that retailers need to continue to embrace the opportunity that e-retail poses.
“Additionally, we need to be cautious about the tendency of retailers to chase sales volumes at the expense of customer intimacy and profitability. Black Friday was unquestionably a success for the value-seeking consumer, but for retailers themselves, its success is not quite as clear. As the index reveals, spending was brought forward a month earlier, at much lower margins for retailers, as a result of the discounts available to customers in November.”