According to the group, after online retail “defied” the downturn on the high street to record +16% (YoY) growth in the first six months of the year, a series of “lacklustre performances” contributed to just +8.4% (YoY) growth for the second half of 2018.
The poor performance across the second half of the year and December was attributed to “low shopper confidence in the current climate”.
Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, said: “The first half of 2018 was actually very strong for online retailers – it resisted and arguably benefitted from the tough climate that impacted trade for store retail.
“It is only [in] the second half of the year where the suppressed confidence and spend, evident in so many other sectors, has spread to online retail; the macro-economic situation must be exerting pressure here, particularly with Brexit now entering its crunch period in Q1 2019.”
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement at Capgemini, added: “A sharp drop in online retail spending in December brings the rollercoaster of a year to a close, with the industry unable to recover performance in the vital festive period following a disappointing November.”