UK shoppers have spent £4.3bn online in January 2010, an increase of 5% compared to the same period last year and a decrease of 22% compared to December 2009, according to IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
Chris Webster, vice president for retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “While annual growth for e-retail was slow in January, we should factor in the fact that December was a very strong month for the industry.
“Last January, e-retailers’ sales were buoyed up by heavy discounting and promotions that were necessary to sell stock left over from poor Christmas trading resulting from the impact of the recent move into recession.”
Strong sales for retailers in December 2009, managing to hold off on heavy discounting, resulted in a weaker annual growth for January 2010. The monthly decline was strongest in the beers, wines and spirits sector, where consumers spent 58% less than in December.
Online sales of beers, wines and spirits was up by 34% year on year, while clothing, footwear and accessories sector saw yearly growth of 10% in January 2010.
The e-retail index for both multichannel and online only retailers fell compared to the previous month with multichannel retailers’ online sales falling 27% while pureplay retailers’ sales fell 14%.
Tina Spooner, director of information, IMRG, said: “The weaker yearly growth in the UK e-retail market during January follows a strong December when online retailers were clearly well prepared for the festive season, indeed December 26th and 27th saw the highest sales for all of 2009.
“Less retailer discounting due to well planned stock levels and the increase in VAT equally appear to have had an impact on the online retail sector during January.”