Online shoppers in the U.K. raise their glasses to the Queen

Web booze sales increase as the kingdom marks Elizabeth’s 60-year reign.

Thad Rueter

Online shoppers in the United Kingdom spent approximately 6 billion pounds (US$9.4 billion) last month at retail web sites, up 13% from May 2011, according to an estimate released today by the Interactive Media in Retail Group, an e-retail trade group commonly known at IMRG, and Capgemini, a consultancy. The May 2012 level is nearly 5.3% higher than e-commerce spending in April 2012.

Leading the May spending growth was clothing, shoes and accessories, which was 11% higher than in May 2011, the report says. “May experienced the first proper taste of summer, with much of the U.K. basking in sunshine, resulting in a much welcomed boost for the clothing sector,” IMRG says. Last month, sales of clothing, shoes and accessories increased 1% year over year.

Brits also stocked up on booze last month, with the report attributes in large part to the “party spirit” centered around the Diamond Jubilee—for those not royally inclined, that was the recently concluded celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary on the throne. Online sales of beer, wine and spirits increased 8% year over year in May, and were up 12% from April 2012.

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

• Consumer electronics, 22%

• Gifts, 39%

• Health and beauty, 33%

Lingerie (a subset of apparel), 9%


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