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E-commerce booms as the high street falters

22 March 2011 - 11:47 by Simon Crisp

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UK consumers have helped to make the online marketplace increasingly profitable in the first two months of the year, as spending was up by more than a fifth compared to last year, according to figures published by IMRG Capgemini.

£10 billion was spent over January and February of 2011, with the total split almost exactly evenly between the two months, despite the fact that high street retailers saw a significant slowdown in sales during the same period.

Capgemini spokesperson, Christ Webster, said that the 20 per cent increase in safe shopping online during early 2011 was remarkable given the shaky ground which bricks and mortar retailers are currently treading.

IMRG's Tina Spooner, said that in February, the UK consumer base was proving that the outlook for e-commerce firms is definitely looking up, largely thanks to the confidence which is placed in the sites offering safe shopping online to deliver good service and low prices.

A 22 per cent increase in online sales for John Lewis during 2010 was greeted with positive words from its e-commerce director, Jonathan Brown.

While clothing, fashion and groceries were all on the increase online, it was the sales of alcohol which were the most impressive and saw a rise of almost 40 per cent in January and 25 per cent last month. This trend for drink stockpiling is thought to be a direct result of the increase in duty which will be enforced as part of the Government's budget.

E-commerce expert, Russ Carroll, said that UK consumers are more confident in online shopping than ever before, with fears about card fraud falling, as reports from mainstream statistics firms suggest that the number of incidents of this type in the UK are at their lowest for more than a decade.