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Fifteen per cent boost to online sales reported

22 March 2017 - 09:20 by Graham Miller

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New stats published by IMRG show that February saw a healthy 15 per cent increase in the number of sales made online, according to Internet Retailing.

This annual rise in e-commerce activity shows that the market is still strong in spite of the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit and the impending triggering of Article 50. But the high street is not faring nearly as well, with footfall at bricks and mortar stores continuing to decline.

Mobile devices continue to be a major influencing factor in helping to catalyse the world of shopping online, with a 57 per cent year on year increase in smartphone-based purchases recorded last month.

This impressive growth rate is actually lower than at any point previously, but shows that this part of the market is still a long way from hitting a plateau.

Report spokesperson, Bhavesh Unadkat, said that February was a generally positive month for e-commerce, even if the price increases brought about by the pound’s falling value were enough to hit consumer confidence.

He also said that the first quarter of the year tends to be sluggish in terms of sales across the entire retail sector, meaning that it is hard to gauge whether or not trends established early on will be consistent throughout the coming months.

Average basket values also rose, meaning people are spending more during a typical session of online shopping than they were in the past. This reflects the fact that more consumers are shifting to an e-commerce first approach to making purchases, rather than turning to the high street.

Multichannel retailers, operating both online and in store, are likely to make the most of the rise of smartphone use and the popularity of click and collect going forwards, experts argue.