Online retail sales “well below expectations” as downward trend continues

Online retail sales continued their downward trend in August following the poorest July performance on record.

August saw online retail sales grow just three per cent year-on-year, coming below July’s growth of 4.4 per cent and dramatically below the five-year average of 9.6 per cent growth.

According to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index electricals and gifts were by far the worst performing categories, seeing a drop of 22.5 per cent and 30.3 per cent respectively.

Though this negative trend could be seen across most categories, clothing was an unlikely bright spot in August seeing sales rise 9.1 per cent year-on-year, while menswear jumped 21.9 per cent.

“August was yet another disappointing month for online sales with low growth rates as we head into the peak trading period,” Capgemini’s principal consultant in retail Bhavesh Unadkat said.

READ MORE: Online retail sales slump to lowest ever July growth

Mobile sales reportedly showed renewed growth during August after plateauing last year, seeing a 14 per cent year-on-year growth, higher than the three and six-month averages of nine and eight per cent respectively.

“Retailers are focusing more than ever on their mobile customer experience, combined with increases in app advertising and more secure payment options, demonstrating that there is still room for growth and potentially market share by optimising the channel strategy,” Unadkat continued.

IMRG’s Andy Mulcahy added: “Growth for online sales in 2019 has been well below expectation this year, but there was some hope that it would balance out as 2018 was a year of two distinct halves – the first half was very strong, the second half far less so.

“It was as we entered the third-quarter last year that growth started to fall away, so this should be the point at which growth rates edge up again as they are against lower rates from last year. That has not happened.”

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