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UK web sales post their first month-over-month decline in 13 years
UK online sales increased 9% year-over-year in July, the weakest year-over-year sales growth for the region since January 2010, according to business and technology consultancy Capgemini and U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG).Online sales decreased 2% month over month in July 2013 compared to June—the first monthly sales decline in the index’s 13-year history.
The report provided no spending figures.
The weather likely played a role in the weak online sales, says Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG “There is no doubt that the prolonged heat wave had a detrimental effect for online retailers,” she says. “Following the coldest spring in over 50 years, it is hardly surprising that Britons headed outside when the much-needed sunshine appeared.”
Online sales for bricks-and-mortar retailers increased 6% year-over-year in July, the lowest growth for the group since the index began. Online sales for web-only retailers grew 13% in July, according to the index.
The slowing growth in July follows a stronger-than-expected first half, according to the index. U.K. online sales from January through June grew 16% compared to the first half of 2012, higher than the two firms’ forecast of 12% growth for that period.
Weak year-on-year increases were recorded across most categories, including electronics, up 2%, health and beauty, up 3% and travel, up 3%. British consumers also spent less money per online order in July, with the average order dropping 15% compared with July 2012 to 72 pounds (US$112.75).
Categories that performed well included home and garden, which grew 37% year-over-year in July. Beer, wine and spirits also rose 23% year-on-year during the month.
The two groups did say that sales on smartphones and tablets increased 129% year-on-year in July. The average m-commerce conversion rate in July was 2.5%, the highest in five months. “The mobile sales growth of 129% is lower than in recent months but not significantly so, suggesting that consumers still shopped via their devices while bathing in the sun,” Spooner says.