UK shoppers spent £3.8bn on the web during August – a 16 per cent year-on-year growth, despite a monthly dip in sales, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
Sales fell by 10 per cent from July to August, prompted by decreasing growth in sectors such as alcohol (down 7.3 per cent) and clothing (down by 19.1 per cent), seen as a sign of consumer belt-tightening in recessionary times.
According to the IMRG report, the August numbers are “closely in line” with previous seasonal trends.
Shoe retailers were the best performers last month, with sales rising by three per cent.
According to the report, retailers are making ”the greatest strides” to improve their online propositions, with better usability features, more use of Web 2.0 tools and more convenient delivery and return models.
“The continued annual growth in the online retail market is evidence that this medium is withstanding the challenges of the economic downturn and the retailers that continue to expand and improve their online presence will no doubt reap the benefits during the festive trading period,” said IMRG director of information Tina Spooner.
Most high-street retailers are still placing their bets on the online sector, with firms such as John Lewis investing in revamped web propositions.
“Fashion online is one of the biggest business opportunities for John Lewis over the next three years and there will be a significant step change in our customers' shopping experience online,” said John Lewis Direct managing director Robin Terrell.
“We want to mirror and exceed the growth that we've achieved in fashions in our 27 John Lewis branches, and ensure all the great niche brands in our stores are available to a much broader audience.”