October 1, 2012, 3:21 PM

Web sales in the U.K. weaken during the Olympics

But mobile sales increase 294% year over year for August.

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Online shoppers in the U.K. spent approximately 5.8 billion pounds ($9.4 billion) during August when the Olympics Games were in full swing. The figure represents a year-on-year increase of 11% compared with August 2011 but is a drop of 11% from July 2012.

The statistics come from the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, from the Interactive Media in Retail Group, an e-retailer trade association, and consulting firm Capgemini. The report says that although a slight drop from July to August is typical of the yearly sales cycle, the 11% drop is significant and likely is a product of the intense interest in the Olympic Games that took place in the U.K. from July 27 through Aug. 12.

“It is very common for August to see a slight decline in e-retail sales (from July), but it is interesting to see just how much an added impact the Olympics had,” says Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology for Capgemini U.K.

In years when there are no Olympics Games, online sales typically fall from July to August by 6-8%, the study says.  “While online retail sales saw a boost during July in the run-up to the Olympic Games, the same cannot be said during the event itself,” says Tina Spooner, chief information officer, IMRG.

Meanwhile mobile sales so far in 2012 have grown a hefty 320% compared with the same period in 2011, the study finds. Mobile sales are on track to account for 20% of online sales in the U.K., the firms forecast.

M-commerce sales for August increased 294% compared with August of last year, according to the report. “Mobile commerce will be a particularly important channel for retailers this winter, as many more shoppers will be making the most of the developments in mobile technology for their Christmas shopping,” Webster says.

Additionally, year-on-year growth of online-only retailers continues to exceed that of multichannel retailers, growing 15% in August compared with August 2011 as compared with the 8% growth of their multichannel counterparts.

The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index has been tracking online sales since 2000 at such large U.K. retailers as Asos.com, Next, Waitrose, Shop Direct Home Shopping, and Arcadia Group–which owns stores such as Top Shop and Miss Selfridge.


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