UK online retail sales were up +13.1% year-on-year (YoY) in February, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
A cold snap named the ‘Beast from the East’ hit the UK in the last week of February which Capgemini said meant shoppers make more online purchases, driving a +3.5% lift in sales compared with the previous week.
The e-Retail Sales Index highlighted sectors which performed notably well in February. Health and beauty grew by +33.85% YoY, its highest growth in the last five years. Clothing continued to show strong YoY growth, up +14.9%, with accessories and footwear as the top performers at +22.3% and +20.4% respectively. Finally gifts grew by +9% YoY, compared with -3.3% the previous year.
Despite the strong sales however, the overall market conversion rate – the percentage of site visitors that complete a purchase – was 4.2%, down from 4.6% last year. The conversion rates for both multichannel and online retailers also came in lower than February 2017.
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement Capgemini, said: “February’s sales patterns clearly demonstrate the power of extreme weather on shopping habits; as people avoid the high street in favour of cosier shopping from their well-heated living rooms.“
He added:“As the snowy weather continued well into March we anticipate a continuation of this trend in next month’s results.”