Online retail sales bounced back in October, after a disappointing September, the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index has revealed.

Online sales grew 14% compared with the same time last year, and rose 7% on last month, which IMRG said is the highest level of growth between September and October for four years. In September, the index recorded 7% year-on-year growth, the measure’s second lowest ever growth.


The amount spent online in October, according to IMRG

Excluding travel, the UK online retail sector grew 16% year-on-year, resulting in year-to-date growth of 17%. IMRG estimate that £8.8bn was spent online in October, the highest market value since December 2013 and a further indication that the 2014 Christmas shopping period has started.

Mobile and tablet sales also grew, up 43% year-on-year and rising 11% compared to September.

Clothing recorded the strongest growth. After its lowest-ever annual growth in September, sales were up 13.5% year on year, with the accessories sector growing 63%.

Pureplay retailers reported more conservative growth, revealing a growing disparity between multichannel retailers and their online-only counterparts. Multichannel reported an 18% increase in sales, while pureplay operators reported only 8% growth.

“The welcome return to double-digit growth last month follows the poor September results, when the online retail industry was adversely affected by the unseasonably mild autumn temperatures. Excluding the travel sector, etail sales growth is in line with our growth forecast for 2014 at 17% year-to-date and we expect this solid performance to continue for the remainder of the year,” said chief information officer Tina Spooner.

“Despite the fact we appear to be seeing a levelling off in consumer confidence, a number of factors indicate that the online retail industry is likely to see a strong festive trading period. Etailers appear to be more confident in their growth predictions for the fourth quarter, shoppers are spending more per online transaction than last year and our latest research reveals almost half of consumers will order gifts online less than a week before Christmas Day.”