November 15, 2013, 3:00 PM

U.K. online sales rise 15% in October

Conversion rates reach 4.7%, the highest rate since November 2012, say IMRG and Capgemini.

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As the weather cools in the United Kingdom, consumers are heading online to do their shopping, according to new research from technology consultancy Capgemini and U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group, or IMRG.

U.K. web sales swelled 15% in October compared with October last year, according to the IMRG e-Retail Sales Index. The growth follows strong growth in August and September, when online retail spending grew 18% and 20%, respectively, year over year. U.K. web retail sales are up 16% so far for the year, compared with 13% at the end of October last year.

Conversion rates are also climbing. The average conversion rate for October hit 4.7%, its highest rate since November 2012. In the six-month period between May and October, conversion rates averaged 4.6%, compared with 3.9% during the same period in 2012.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer for IMRG, notes that while year-over-year web sales growth for October is strong, the month-over-month growth between September and October is its lowest in five years, coming in at 0.5% compared with the typical range of 4%-8% during the same period over the past several years. However, she still expects strong U.K. holiday web sales.

“This is following the strongest online sales growth recorded between August and September in 13 years,” she says. “Coming off the back of a strong comparator last October, the performance is still strong and bodes well for a positive Christmas for online retail.”

Electronics were especially strong in October, rising 19% year over year,  Capgemini and IMRG say.  They say the product category benefited from several new devices hitting the market, including the new iPhone 5 and tablet devices such as Hudl from U.K. supermarket chain Tesco and MyTablet from general merchandise retailer Argos.

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