May 31, 2011, 5:03 PM

E-commerce sales take off in the U.K. as shoppers buy more apparel and alcohol

U.K. shoppers spent 5.2 billion pounds online in April, up 19% from April of last year.

Consumers in the United Kingdom are using the web more to buy apparel and alcoholic beverages, a new study says.

U.K. online shoppers spent 5.2 billion British pounds (US$8.4 billion) online in April, up 19% from April 2010, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index released last month. The average U.K. online shopper spent 84 pounds (US$135) in April.

The report, conducted by trade association Interactive Media in Retail Group and consultants Capgemini, credits the April jump in online spending to the British holidays, the royal wedding and more sunshine.

The biggest winner, however, was booze. Shoppers spent 55% more on online purchases of alcoholic beverages in April compared with a year earlier, spending an average of 174 pounds (US$280) per order, nearly double the average order in April 2010 and the highest level since November 2007, just before the start of the last recession.

"The excellent growth in the alcohol and clothing sectors is very revealing in terms of modern consumer shopping behavior," 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."

thad@verticalwebmedia.com

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