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Consumers spending £1bn more online than last summer

Caroline Baldwin

Online shoppers are spending £1bn more online than they did last summer.

In July 2014 UK consumers spent £8.1bn online, a huge increase from £7.1bn in July 2013.

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July saw annual growth of 14%, as well as month-on-month growth of 3%, following 5% decrease in online spending between May and June 2014.

The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index said that the home and garden department saw an increase of 17% year-on-year due to the unusually hot start to the British summer.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said the UK is still on track to see in excess of £100bn spent online for the first time this year.

“With the July Index performance back to solid double-digit growth, it appears the disappointing results in June were merely a blip,” she said.

Electrical items also saw 19% year-on-year growth in July, up from 7% year-on-year growth in June, which could be due to the World Cup.

“It is evident that consumers are now spending more money online, and the increase in high-ticket purchases, including electrical items, furniture and holidays, indicates that consumer confidence is certainly increasing,” said Spooner.

The Sales Index also noted that the travel sector saw online growth of 13% year-on-year, the strongest July since 2010.

Chris Clarkson, managing director of travel website Sunshine.co.uk, said he saw an increase of 29% during July and a 29% rise in revenue compared with June 2013.

“In July, growth reached even higher levels, with bookings up 44% year-on-year and a 35% annual increase in revenue from a 12% rise in traffic. Conversion rates were also up a significant 29% in July compared with the same month last year.”

Websites such as Sunshine, and Hotels.com are increasingly making it easier for consumers to purchase holidays online.

Talking to Computer Weekly in June, chief technology officer (CTO) of Hotels.com Thierry Bedos said the company has been experimenting with big data.

The whole idea is to try to understand what customers like – not tracking what they do,” says Bedos. “Then we can tailor choice to their needs.”

For example, from the thousands of hotels that appear from a search of Paris, Hotels.com wants to show those that are most relevant to the customer, he says. 

“We can understand what they’ve bought in the past, and infer their preferences to give a choice closely aligned to what they are interested in.”


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