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Basket value declines despite May e-retail growth

By Retail Technology | Thursday June 20 2013

Online retail sales up 16% year-on-year, up 5% on April and conversion rates improve, although baskets sizes are down

The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index released this week indicates the online retail market grew by 16% year-on-year in May and by 5% on April 2013

Conversion rates increased to 4.9% (excluding travel) in May, up 20% compared to the same month in 2012 during the Golden Jubilee period and 2011. 

But this growth coincided a fall in average basket value, which excluding travel, stood at £77 from January to May 2013, down from £83 and £86 for the same period in 2012 and 2011 respectively. 

At the same time that m-commerce sales increased 148% year-on-year, this growth was also the lowest since Index began.

Price playing important factor

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, stated: “Due to the ease with which customers can browse between retail sites in search of the right offer for them, pricing has become more competitive than ever. While the online retail market continues to grow at a faster-than-expected rate, customers are spending less per transaction which impacts on the profit margins for the business. 

"In fact, the average online basket value year-to-date is down over 10% compared with the same period in 2011," she added. "This declining trend is not likely to shoot up again quickly, as the expectation of value goes hand-in-hand with shopping online.”

In terms of individual sectors, clothing saw 16% year-on-year growth in May, as the increase in temperature encouraged consumers to update summer wardrobes. The warmer weather also spurred Brits to splash out on purchases for the house; the home & garden sector saw a 41% increase in like-for-like sales last month, compared to the same time last year.
Pureplays edge out multichannel

The figures reveal that online-only retailers outperformed their multichannel counterparts. Online retailers saw sales rise by 18% year-on-year in May, while retailers with both a physical and online presence recorded a 16% rise. 

Chris Webster, vice president and head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, commented: “The online sales reflect the ongoing economic climate. Whilst there has been a slight growth in average earnings, it is still running behind the current rate of inflation of 2.4%; as a result Brits have to be savvier shoppers and embrace the savings that can be found online.
“The challenge to the High Street is that once shoppers get used to the convenience of online and the ability to make their money go further, this behaviour will continue even as health is restored to the economy.”

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