Brits are predicted to spend £6.4 bn in December, up from £5.5 billion last year, but will be looking to spread the costs in times of economic uncertainty, according to a new study.
The latest results from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that British shoppers spent a total of £4.8 billion online during September (year-on-year growth of 24%), equivalent to £79 per person and bucking the recent fall in sales on the high street.
Apart from home and garden, which saw a decrease of -1%, all of the retail sectors represented on the Index have shown a year-on-year and like-for-like growth of at least 10%, with clothing, footwear and accessories up 28% from September 2009.
This impressive growth is attributed to consumers looking to keep spending in check by shopping online for the best deals.
These figures are particularly significant when compared to the recent British Retail Consortium figures that identified a dramatic decline in non-food store sales. “The disparity between these figures reveals a very interesting trend amongst British consumers”, commented Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini.
“Purse strings are getting tighter as concerns about the Government’s austerity drive begin to have an impact on consumer spending confidence. The rise in online spending is at the expense of high street sales and we may even see an early peak with shoppers looking to spread the cost of Christmas over several pay cheques.”
The idea consumers are looking to spread the cost of Christmas is supported by the huge jump in gift sales during September, which saw a 32% year-on-year increase and an 8% rise from August.
Based on 2010 Index results, which saw a year-to-date growth of 16%, IMRG and Capgemini have generated a new set of forecasts for Q4 2010:
– Total online spend in the fourth quarter will reach an estimated £17.4 billion, up from £15 billion in Q4 2009
– In December 2010 it is predicted that £6.4 billion will be spent online, up from £5.5 billion in December 2009
– The estimated total-spend for 2010 is £57.8 billion, up 16% from £49.8 billion in 2009.
Tina Spooner, Director of Information at IMRG, comments: “Despite a continuing decline in consumer confidence, the online retail market is growing ahead of our expectations, with a double-digit rise in yearly sales recorded in each quarter of 2010.
“Concerns over the impending Government spending cuts, VAT increase and job security, together with falling average households’ disposable income, are all contributing to driving this positive e-retail performance as consumers turn to online retailers to secure the best deals. During the fourth quarter we estimate that the UK e-retail market will reach £17.4 billion, with sales during December alone reaching around £6.4 billion as shoppers flock online during the festive season.”
The recent findings revealed that online sales have seen a steady year-on-year increase throughout 2010. In Q1 the figure stood at 11%, and in Q3 it had jumped to a significant 19%.
The performance of the Index mirrors individual stand-out performances by multi-channel retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and John Lewis, which have all reported strong online sales growth. The year-on-year growth for such multi-channel retailers is up 31% according to the e-retail sales Index. In contrast, pure-play recorded only half the growth, with a still impressive 15%.