• Shopping online grows 11% year on year in April
  • Online fashion sales up 15%
  • Lingerie sales for the month shot up 32% 

Ecommerce sales increased 11% last month, marking the lowest rate of growth recorded so far this year following a “tough month” for retailers.

April’s slim double-digit etail sales growth was buoyed by a 15% increase in clothing sales, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

The fashion category was driven by the “continued consumer appetite for accessories and footwear”, which reported year-on-year increases of 25% and 19% respectively.

Lingerie performed “most impressively”, shooting up 32% year on year and advancing 19% since March.

Gift sales grew 16% year on year and sales in home and garden were also up 13%.

Purchases made on smartphones continued to surge at the expense of tablet sales. Smartphone transactions rose 83%, while purchases made on tablets only edged up 3%. 

IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner said: “Larger mobile screens and better optimised sites seem to be working to increase confidence in using these devices for a wide range of activities.”

However, the conversion rate for tablets was 1.7% higher than for smartphones.

Capgemini retail customer engagement and loyalty SME Bhavesh Unadkat said April was a “tough month for retailers” because heavy rainfall discouraged shoppers from purchasing the seasonal items that traditionally drive the index.

“However, double-digit growth is still very respectable and I expect May to be even stronger,” he said.

Spooner added that the growth in April was slightly higher than anticipated “given the cold weather”, with a number of sectors, including apparel, outperforming the total market, despite reports of sluggish sales growth on the high street.

“Year-to-date, overall e-retail growth is actually 2% ahead of our 11% growth forecast for 2016,” she said.