UK Shoppers Flock to 'Internet before Christmas

UK online spend last month surged 26% from October - and 16% from November of last year, according to figures released from the Interactive Media In Retail Group (IMRG) Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index on Tuesday.

The 26% surge in November sales was the highest of the year, reports Retailer Daily.

Shoppers may be trying to beat the recession in the run up to Christmas by heading online, with e-retailers continuing to fare better than their high street equivalents, IMRG said.

In November, for the first time this year, every sector tracked by the index saw positive monthly and yearly growth. Shoppers splurged, in particular, on clothing, footwear and accessories as they prepared for the festive season.

Sales of shoes and accessories grew ahead of the Christmas season-32% and 108%, respectively.

But the growth in sales of clothes (18%) failed to match that rate, demonstrating that shoppers may be updating old looks in favor of splashing out on a new wardrobe, IMRG said.

Consumers matched their online spending on party wear with alcohol purchases: Sales of beers, wines and spirits had a strong month, growing 53%.

"While we would naturally expect to see a monthly increase in online sales during this time of the year, it is perhaps surprising that we are continuing to see yearly growth during these otherwise difficult times for retailers. This is a sure sign that high street retailers should look to diversify their activities by fully embracing the online space, as their customers have," said IMRG's CEO, James Roper.

Google UK Industry Head-Retail Paul Frantz, added: "The downturn in the economy is the first in the digital age and it is far from clear exactly how deep or lasting it will be. What is evident though, is that there is no slowdown in consumers' adoption of e-commerce. The UK is Europe's largest online market with residents already averaging 33 hours per month online. Search behavior has also been impacted, with the search term 'discount vouchers,' for instance, rising 94% in the last 30 days according to Google Insights."

About the Index: The IMRG Capgemini Index tracks online sales, defined as "transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels" from any location, including in-store. These sales are predominantly internet-based today. The Index has been re-based to reflect the size of the market. Around seventy e-retailers regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index.

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