May 17, 2012, 3:22 PM

U.K e-commerce spending increases 10% in April

Gifts led the spending increase, but apparel sales lagged last month.

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Online shoppers in the United Kingdom spent 5.7 billion pounds (US$9 billion) in April, up 10% from the same month in 2011, according to e-commerce spending estimates released today by the Interactive Media in Retail Group, an e-retail trade group commonly known at IMRG, and Capgemini, a consultancy.

Gifts was the category that grew the fastest last month, with sales increasing 45% year over year. By contrast, spending for clothing, footwear and accessories increased just 1% compared with April 2011; that is the lowest growth rate for the product category in 11 years, IRMG says. The report blames the generally wet and cool April weather for dampening consumers’ desires to purchase summer apparel via e-retailers.

The weather may have turned consumers’ minds toward sunnier locales, however, as spending on online travel increased 20% year over year. The report gives no actual spending figures for product categories.

“While the 10% annual growth recorded in April is lower than the 13% uplift seen in the first quarter, it should be noted that this is on the back of a strong performance in April last year when online retail sales were up 19% year on year,” says Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG.

Here are the product categories and their year-over-year spending increases for April:

• Beer, wines and spirits, 1%

• Clothing, footwear and accessories, 1%

• Consumer electronics, 26%

• Gifts, 45%

• Health and beauty, 40%

• Travel, 20%

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