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Online sales soar in November

Online sales grew 16.4% year-on-year in the month of November, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index.

The index, which tracks the performance of some 200 retailers, recorded the largest monthly growth since April 2018.

This figure significantly surpassed the three month, six month and 12 month rolling averages of 10.7%, 7.7% and 6.1%, respectively. 

Online sales were also a “staggering” 54% higher than sales in the month of October.

This surge in sales is largely attributed to the boost of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where online sales were up by 24.7% over the events.  

Online-only retailers fared the best during the month, with a sales growth of 24.7%, while multichannel retailers saw sales increase by 9.2%.

Clothing saw a sales increase of 19.3%, the highest since November 2016, while health and beauty enjoyed a growth of 43.9%. Beer, wine and spirits rose 37.3%.

Electrical sales only saw a decline of 2.58% in sales, the “best result” for the category in sales this year. 

Lucy Gibbs, senior consultant at Capgemini, said: “The jump in November sales this year was well beyond expectations after an otherwise difficult year.

“The highest growth this year has been seen in the discounting periods; a sign that when wider consumer confidence is low then the predictable sale events in the retail calendar are counted on for stretching wallet spend.”

She added: “Online only retailers were the biggest winners where higher conversion and larger decreases in ABV suggest deeper discounting strategies than the multichannel players. 

“Will having so much increased activity concentrated in the black November events after tricky year provide the boost needed or add to the challenge of maintaining profit margins this year?”

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, said: ”After a year of very weak demand online, the November result is little short of exceptional. 

“The uplift in revenue during Black Friday week was very strong at +11.7%, but growth was actually sustained across the whole month. There was a trend for retailers starting their campaigns earlier in the month this year and shoppers seemed to respond readily.”

He added: “However, while this is undoubtedly positive news, it would seem odd if retailers suddenly experienced consistently strong Christmas trading after such a poor year. 

“Since November captured a high share of sales volumes, will shoppers have anything left to buy in December? Early anecdotal evidence suggests December trading was very subdued in the first week – how is it going to balance out overall?”

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