Shoppers swap high street for online


July saw online sales in Britain rise by 11.3% compared to June, as a result of damp weather and increasingly internet-savvy shoppers.

The report, by IMRG Capgemini, revealed that £4.8 billion was spent online in July - equating to £79 per person in the UK.

Such encouraging figures for online sales are in stark contrast to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium, which showed a 0.9% drop for high street sales in June.

Mike Petevinos, head of consulting for retail at Capgemini, says: "Gloomy market conditions have not dampened consumers’ appetite for shopping online. Online sales continue to show strong growth, particularly when compared to the tough trading conditions on the high street."

He added that the figures show consumers are aware of the "increased choice" and "convenience" of shopping online.

With shopper numbers falling on high streets and in out-of-town shopping centres, it may have been assumed that Brits were keeping their cash in theri pockets. However, these figures show that shoppers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of the online retail market.

Clothing and electrical sales were the big winners, with online clothing sales increasing by 23%, while the electrical sector saw its biggest increase this year. Demand for new technology such as the Apple iPhone and flat-screen TVs seemingly driving the increase in this sector.

Jo Evans, MD of IMRG, believes the latest figures show consumers have confidence still in purchasing online, despite the ongoing credit crunch and that more and more shoppers are benefitting from better deals by turning to the internet to spend their money.

"Online retailers are taking full advantage of the present situation by making exceptional offers on their websites, with online sales now in full swing and UK shoppers using the web to search out those bargains, compare prices and ensure they get the best deals," she says.

Capgemini has believes that high street stores are set for further bad news over the next five years, as it has forecast that by then, 30-50% of all retail sales will be online.

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