October 17, 2013, 12:13 PM

U.K. e-commerce increases 20% year over year in September

Month-to-month growth, meanwhile, sets a record, IMRG says.

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Web sales in the U.K. increased 20% year over year in September, with growth at 13% compared with August 2013, says technology consultancy Capgemini and U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG).

The 13% month-over-month growth is the largest the two companies have reported for e-commerce sales since they began their U.K. online sales index 13 years ago. Additionally, 23% of all online sales in September were made via consumers’ mobile devices.

Third quarter web sales increased 15% year over year, according to the index, in line with the companies’ recently revised forecast for full-year 2013 U.K. web sales growth. Average order value also showed strength, reaching its highest level in 15 months. The companies don’t disclose the average order value amount, however.

“It has actually been a far stronger year than we expected, as the acceleration of using mobile devices as part of the online shopping journey has extended both the number of people who have access to retail sites, as well as the contexts and locations in which they can do so,” a spokesman for IMRG says. “We were forecasting 12% growth for the year, but we now expect it to come in at 15% for the year as a whole.”

September marks the second sales record this year for the index. The first, set in July, was the
first time web sales fell month over month since the index launched.

“The blip we saw over the summer was purely related to the heat wave, as everyone was outside,” the spokesman says. “The high street saw its best performance in years around that time as a consequence.”

Online clothing sales increased 18% in September compared with September 2012.  Specifically, lingerie posted 30% growth, accessories 20% and footwear 20%.

“This month’s Index is a good indicator that we are headed towards economic recovery, and a great sign for a strong Christmas,” says Chris Webster, vice president and head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini. “The fact that e-retail has seen its sharpest period of growth for September suggests that consumers are shopping with confidence.”

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG says smartphone sales growth is especially strong, posting year-over-year sales growth of 150% last month. 

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