Online Shoppers Stride Confidently out of Recession as Sales Rise 17%; Footwear and Clothing Purchases Lead the Surge in Spending

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 25, 2009 | Go to article overview

Online Shoppers Stride Confidently out of Recession as Sales Rise 17%; Footwear and Clothing Purchases Lead the Surge in Spending


Byline: Sarah Miloudi

CLOTHES, shoes and accessories appear to be driving improving online sales amid signs of growing consumer confidence.

A report released today showed shoppers spent pounds 4.2bn online in July - 15.7% more than was shelled out in June and 16.8% more than last July.

Clothing, footwear and accessories all showed growth of 18% month on month and 17% year on year, the latest IMRG Capgemini retail sales index revealed.

The study suggested that in the past six months consumers have been encouraged by new summer fashion lines, heavy discounting and promotions.

Clothing retailers have also been effective in turning more visits to their websites into final purchases.

In July, due to more sophisticated targeting strategies to shift summer stock for autumn, internet sales soared beyond expectations.

Online sales of electrical items also rose - up 11% from June - with twice as many men shopping online compared to women.

Cameron McLean, of online payment service PayPal, said: "Men love the quick and efficient nature of the internet, especially when it comes to buying technology and gadgets.

"Men are also spending more online than women. The average online spend over the last six months was pounds 2,602 for men compared to pounds 1,930 for women."

However, the online payment website said women were still spending more on clothing and groceries, suggesting they are behind the surge in online sales.

In PayPal's own survey, men spent more in six out of eight categories including holidays, technology and health and beauty.

"Men spent more than women in every category except groceries and clothing. The female pound is still responsible for the growth in online sales of clothing, accessories and footwear year on year," Mr McLean said.

The report also highlighted that online sales of alcohol tumbled during July as drinkers were forced to cancel picnics and barbecues due to heavy rainfall. Sales fell 15% month on month and 23% year on year.

Consumer behaviour expert Robin Croft, of the University of Glamorgan, said the increase in online spending is not only due to lower interest rates but also greater consumer power.

"Interest rates have gone down and mortgage rates have gone down so we are feeling a bit richer," he said. …

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