Online retail sales jumped 13% last month as shoppers took advantage of the warmer weather to splash out on summer clothing.

  • Online retail sales return to double digit-growth after four months
  • Overall 13% sales growth driven by spike in clothing sales during warmer weather
  • But Q1 slump in growth might not be “merely a blip”, IMRG warns

Consumers seemed unaffected by uncertainty surrounding the election to drive the year-on-year growth, which comes after an unprecedented four months of single-digit growth.

The figures, revealed by the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index showed that sales also grew 4% on the month – the highest jump for the month of April since 2007. April also saw the highest conversion rate seen so far during 2015 of 4.6%.

April’s figures contributed to an 11,000% growth in online retail sales since the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index began in 2000, with £640bn spent online during the 15-year period.

IMRG Capgemini said last month’s figures were driven by “improvements in average temperatures” which gave clothing sales a 15%.

Mobile sales continued to drive overall online sales growth, with mobile sales spiking 52% year-on-year and 8% on March.

Return to form

Capgemini head of digital, consumer and retail Alex Smith-Bingham said: “Today’s figures show a return to form for online retail. Shoppers are clearly more confident than ever and in the run up to the general election were feeling upbeat about their prospects for the future.

“The fact that conversion rates were so high goes to show that people weren’t just window shopping – they were going online ready to spend. With the economy continuing to improve I’m confident that online retail is on the up.”

IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner added the return to double digit growth in April took year-to-date growth of the UK online retail market to 9%. But she said that remained below the IMRG’s 2015 growth forecast of 12%.  

Spooner added: “A separate survey of IMRG members has revealed that UK retailers believe a number of factors influenced the slowdown in e-retail growth during Q1 including market maturity, increased competition, less discounting resulting in consumers holding out for sales and promotions and also political and economic uncertainty. 

“However, it is too early to say whether the single-digit growth recorded during Q1 was merely a blip and we will be monitoring developments very closely over the coming months.”