Online retail sales rebound in October, but still lowest ever for that month

With peak shopping season almost upon us, retailers got a much needed boost in October. Online sales grew by +6.2% Year-on-Year, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index.

Though still behind the 5-year average of +10%, October’s results beat the 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month rolling averages.
That said, growth for the year is currently tracking at less than half that of the previous 12 months. The victory may feel a little hollow. It was also the lowest growth for online sales in October ever.
October’s slightly more positive performance was mirrored in some categories, including clothing (+5.2%), beer, wine and spirits (+4.8%) and home (+13.6%).
Clothing sales sprang back from their first negative growth in over two years in September, to record the modest rise.
Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG, said “Online retail sales performance in October showed signs of improvement compared with how it has been doing in recent months. But there are several signs in the data that the growth was in response to heavy discounting. The average basket value was down -21%.
“The question now is whether this stronger growth is indicative of an improvement in shopper demand. Or whether November sales will struggle as a result of volume pulled forward. This happened in June this year. Sales growth was up +8.5%, the highest of the year, but this was as a result of discounting to stimulate that activity. July growth was the lowest ever for that month as a consequence.”

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