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UK E-Commerce in April: Four Things We Learned
Image Credit  SamahR Creative Commons license

UK E-Commerce in April: Four Things We Learned

The latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index details the environment for online sellers in April, and it was a month which saw plenty of interesting trends arise.

Among what could be considered a chiefly positive set of readings, we saw evidence of a rise in conversions as part of the big clampdown on cart abandonment, while retailers in specific verticals saw above-average increases for sales.

Here are some of the points raised by the IMRG from last month.

Return of double digits

After months of waiting, online sales across the UK during April finally returned to double-digit growth; the rate of 14% an increase from 9% in March. 

Taking into account the year-on-year increase of 6% in February, following a 7% seasonal-sales boost in January, news of a two-figure increase can only lead to optimism going into the heart of Q2.

It’s also good news for IMRG’s record books, as the growth seen between March and April is the highest recorded for this period since 2007, just before the recession hit. 

Analysts have pointed to an improvement in average temperatures and a strong showing for the travel sector as ways of explaining the uplift. 

Brits abroad

Drilling down into specific verticals, travel companies made April 2015 a month to remember as their own sales rose 20% year on year - aided by families looking to secure a summer getaway. But that could well be the same for late-bookers in May and June, when the price comparison sites begin to earn their worth.

The fashion sector also put in a strong performance after seeing clear signs of the heat picking up. Clothing sales rose 15% in April, with footwear and accessories selling particularly well. Again, with those who like to leave their travel booking and holiday shopping a little later than usual, that may be a theme to carry into next month.  

Converting the carts

Cart abandonment was the subject of the e-commerce industry last year and it looks like sellers are getting ready to bring those rates of conversion back up.

April saw conversions climb to 4.6%, which marks the highest level in 2015. It might only make a small dent in the amount of carts that are lost due to a lack of intent to purchase, but slow and steady progress is being made.

Mobile (still) matters

April brought yet another increase in mobile sales as transactions attributed to smartphones and tablets grew 52% year on year.

This followed a 38% rise in March, which marked a 9% increase from the previous month. The pressure will be now on retailers to ensure their sites are able to cater for the influx of mobile shoppers, although not everyone can be expected to convert.

Earlier this month we heard predictions of mobile surpassing desktop in terms of ad spend, with the latter maintaining its dominance when it comes to the final purchase.


Richard Towey

Richard Towey

Richard serves as head of content at PerformanceIN. After many years spent covering developments from the automotive, sports, travel and finance sectors, he eventually turned his full attention to reporting on stories from the fast-evolving world of digital marketing. Richard now heads up the editorial team at PerformanceIN: the performance marketing industry's leading publication.  

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