Determined Start to 2012 for Online Retailers

  • £6bn spent online during January
  • Travel sector sees a very welcome 205% increase on December
  • Average cost of holiday exceeds £1,000 for the first time as more affluent consumers continue to splash out
17th February 2012: The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that shoppers in the UK spent a total of £6 billion online during January, equivalent to £118* per person. This reflects a year-on-year growth of 16%.

When compared with the high-street and wider retail sector, the continued resilience of e-retail in the face of economic uncertainty is clear. The British Retail Consortium reported a disappointing start to the year, with the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers indicating a year-on-year growth of just 2.1%**. This poor result comes on the back of a continued decline in inflation, which suggests more needs to be done to reinvigorate consumer spending on Britain’s high-street.

Travel sales bounced back in January, following five consecutive months of decline, with sales soaring 205% on December. It is typical for travel to see an increase at the start of the year, as once the expense, and stress, of Christmas is out of the way, families look to book their summer holiday. But, for the first time since the sector was first tracked in December 2008, the average spend on travel has exceeded £1,000, which suggests that while the majority of Brits are finding their finances squeezed, the more affluent shopper is able to splash out on luxurious holidays.

Outside of travel, January saw a steep decline on December, with alcohol reporting a drop of 66% - a result, no doubt, of Brits looking to detox after Christmas. The clothing sector saw a monthly decline of 38% and while a drop in January across all sectors is typical, sales of clothing have recorded low levels of year-on-year growth for the third consecutive month, likely to be a result of the relatively mild winter.

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