May 20, 2011, 2:30 PM

Make mine a double

U.K. e-commerce sales grow 19% in April, thanks to warm weather and booze.

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Online shoppers in the United Kingdom spent 5.2 billion British pounds (US$8.4 billion) in April, up 19% from the same month in 2010, according to the new IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, released today.  In April, the average U.K. online shopper spent 84 pounds (US$137), according to the study, conducted by Interactive Media in Retail Group, an online retailing trade group, and Capgemini, a consultancy.

The report spreads the credit for the jump in online spending last month among holidays, the royal wedding and the increasing appearances of the sun. “The rising climes drove consumers online to update their wardrobes,” the report says, noting that online apparel sales increased 32% in April year over year. The warmth also encouraged more British consumers to go online for home and garden supplies, the report adds, with sales increasing 14% compared with a year ago.

Booze, though, was the real winner for British e-commerce last month. Online shoppers spent 55% more on online alcohol purchases last month than in April 2010, the report says. Average order values for online beer, wine and liquor sales also enjoyed a boost, with individual consumers spending 174 pounds (US$283) per order, the highest level since November 2007, right before the start of the last recession, and nearly double the average order value for last April.

“The excellent growth in the alcohol and clothing sectors is very revealing in terms of modern consumer shopping behaviour,” says Tina Spooner, director of information at IMRG. “Instead of just impulsively rushing out to the shops as soon as the sun comes out to buy the appropriate wares, people are browsing online to get access to the widest possible choice and ensure that they secure the best deals in these tough economic times.”

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