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Good weather prompts dip in UK e-commerce sales

21 August 2013 - 14:48 by Graham Miller

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The fine conditions experienced over the course of June and July this year have been as much of a problem for online retailers as the cold weather during the spring was for high street outlets, according to the latest figures from IMRG.

While sales made online were still up by nine per cent year on year in July, they were actually down by two per cent when compared with June 2013. This monthly dip meant that growth was at its weakest for three years.

Perhaps more significant, this is the first time that the amount of sales generated online in the UK has fallen since the turn of the Millennium.

Interestingly, it seems that while the e-commerce sales in the UK took a bit of a growth hit in July, there was a distinction between performance of pure play online retailers and those which also have a presence on the high street.

For sites like Amazon, which only operate online, sales were up by 13 per cent, while multichannel retailers like Next and H&M accounted for just a six per cent increase.

In spite of all this, the number of products being purchased via safe shopping online in the UK is actually growing faster than originally anticipated, with a projected annual rate of 16 percent expected to be achieved by the end of the year, compared with the 12 percent boost that IMRG analysts previously expected.

Smartphone usage for e-commerce activities experienced the most significant growth, with sales up by 129 per cent. But with conversion rates of only 2.5 per cent in the mobile market, it seems apparent that tablet and desktop users are more likely to commit to making a purchase than those on truly portable devices.