August 21, 2012, 12:23 PM

U.K. e-commerce enjoys an Olympic bump

Online spending increases 17% in July as consumers prepared for the Games.

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The run-up to the London Olympics helped to boost online spending 17% year over year in the United Kingdom last month, according to an estimate from  the Interactive Media in Retail Group, an e-retail trade group commonly known at IMRG, and Capgemini, a consultancy.

The report says that U.K. consumers spent 6.5 billion pounds online (US$10.2 billion) in July. Total year-over-year growth for U.K. e-commerce spending so far this year stands at 13%, the report adds.

As the United Kingdom prepared for the Olympics, consumers went online to buy high-definition television sets and similar products, helping to boost online sales of consumer electronics by 30% compared with July 2011, the report says. It gives no spending figures.

“While we won’t know the direct impact the Olympics has had until next month, the excitement and build up to the Games certainly contributed to July’s strong performance,” says Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini. “Retailers, both online and offline, were offered a unique opportunity to build an international base of customers, so it will be interesting to see whether the U.K. successfully capitalised on the millions of additional visitors to Britain.”

In a reference to the heavy rains that have hit Britain this summer, the report says “brief sunny spells and ongoing price cuts” helped to increase online sales of clothing, footwear and accessories by 15% when compared with July 2011. “New autumn lines hitting the shelves also contributed to the clothing spike, encouraging shoppers to update their wardrobes earlier than usual,” the report says.

Following are year-over-year e-commerce spending increases for other product categories in July 2012:

• Health and beauty, 32%

• Gifts, 27%

• Travel, 12%

Beer, wine and spirits, 0%

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