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Online retail sales growth slumps to lowest level in 2018

UK online retail sales experienced its lowest September growth (+7.5% YoY) since 2014 last month, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

According to the new research online sales have “faltered” since England’s World Cup Exit in July and the close of the hot summer, and despite a brief uplift around the August bank holiday, growth fell to a new 2018 low in September.

The sector which felt the “brunt of the fall in spending” was clothing, which increased by only 2.2% YoY, performing significantly below the 5-year average for September of 7.4%. Gifts decreased by 23% YoY, in its biggest drop since March 2010, with group suggesting that “wallets have tightened” after a high-spending Q2.

The index for sales for smartphones continued to grow during September, increasing by 16.1% on last year. However growth has slowed considerably against the +55.8% recording 2017, with the market reaching a “greater level of maturity”.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement at Capgemini, said: “This month’s performance was the lowest growth seen this year, however it was building on what was a strong performance in September last year (+13.0%).

“Back to school and new season launches seem to have had less of a draw for consumers despite weather being favourable. The clothing sector saw a drop in online visitation in September, though conversion and basket value increased, suggesting that a smaller customer base is driving the sales and customers are shopping on a more needs basis rather than impulse buys.”

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, added:Following such a strong start to the year for online retail sales, the third-quarter has come in notably lower at only +10.1%, and there are a few factors that may be influencing this.”

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