• Online retail sales grew 15% in February
  • The average basket value (ABV) was £85

The rate of growth through smartphone devices has roughly halved year-on-year.

Etail sales data from UK-based websites, collated from transactions via interactive channels from any location (including in-store). ABV = Average Basket Value

Online retail sales were up +15% year-on-year in February, building on solid growth in February 2016 (+16%).

For the second month running, the average basket value was at a seven-year high for that month of the year.

While on the surface this represents a strong month for online retail sales growth, there were some signs that sustaining this rate of growth throughout the whole year may be a challenge.

Smartphone sales slow

One of the main drivers for online retail in recent years has been the growth of sales made through smartphone devices.

For the past three months, however, the rate of growth through these devices has roughly halved year-on-year — in February 2016 it was +96% YoY, but in February 2017 it was just +57%.

Tablet growth remains low (+3.5%) and, with smartphones taking a greater share of sales through mobile devices, a sustained slowdown in sales growth through this channel will come to impact upon growth rates for online retail overall.

“The slowdown in sales growth [from smartphones] does appear to be fairly dramatic. That said, rates of smartphone growth over the past two years have been very high, and that couldn’t continue indefinitely” says Justin Opie, managing director at IMRG.

Multichannel retailers benefit

However, this slowdown in growth through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) is specific to online-only retailers.

For multichannel retailers, which have both an online and in-store offering, growth in sales made on mobile devices was up slightly year-on-year, while the average basket value of online retail sales in general rose by nearly £20. 

Across sectors, sales for electricals were up +1.5%. While low, it is at least in positive territory following two months of negative growth. The average basket value was down £8 year-on-year, however.

About the Etail Sales Monitor

The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, which was launched in April 2000, tracks UK ‘online sales’, which are defined as ‘transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels’ from any location, including in-store. Data is collated from UK-based websites but does include goods/services ordered from outside the UK.