November online retail sales break new records thanks to Black Friday

Online sales in November rose 37% month-on-month, the largest October to November increase in IMRG Capgemini’s 14-year history

Online retail sales in November 2014 increased by 37% month-on-month, representing the largest October to November increase in IMRG Capgemini’s 14-year history.

Online sales from November 2013 to November 2014 also jumped by 20%, which was the biggest year-on-year growth rate in 2014.

According to the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index, an estimated £12.1bn was spent online in November, with an average basket value, excluding travel, of £78.

The research stated the record-breaking figures can be partly attributed to Black Friday, which meant sales were 44% higher in the week commencing 23 November than in the previous week. November also saw the highest conversion rate of 2014, at 5.3%.

“The unprecedented level of traffic to retail websites over Black Friday weekend resulted in a significant spike in online sales during the last week of November,” said IMRG CIO Tina Spooner. “In fact, sales on Black Friday alone surged 135% year-on-year as consumers flocked to retail websites on what turned out to be the busiest online shopping day of the year, to date.

“Many retailers reported that Black Friday was their biggest ever day for online sales, however some reported a slowdown in sales in the days leading up to Black Friday as consumers waited for discounts and promotions before starting their Christmas shopping.”

Neil Sansom, e-commerce director at Moss Bros, said Black Friday was the retailer’s biggest ever day for online sales, surpassing Cyber Monday.

“Black Friday demand at Moss Bros was over 200% up on the year, and we can only see this getting larger in future years, as the UK consumer has now embraced the American Black Friday tradition,” he said.

The mobile opportunity

Meanwhile, mobile commerce on smartphones and tablets also continued to grow, rising by 48% month-on-month and 80% compared with the same time last year. And the last week of November saw mobile sales surge by 82% on the previous week, almost double the rate of overall e-retail sales growth.

Unsurprisingly, with Christmas around the corner, gifts was the best-performing sector, growing by 154% month-on-month. This was followed by health and beauty, up 99% month-on-month, and electricals, up 71% month-on-month

“Although average spend per shopper was down by about 9% from the previous month, overall estimated spend reached a staggering £12.1bn in November, and it looks like we are on target for another record-breaking Christmas with estimated spend set to break the £100bn barrier by the end of this year,” said Spooner.

Adgild Hop, principal and head of retail consulting at Capgemini, said the mania around Black Friday drove considerable sales in November, but the retail industry faced challenges fulfilling demand and delivery.

“We will also be eagerly holding our breath as to whether retailers can indeed fulfil the increased home delivery and click and collect volumes for Christmas. Few things would be more damaging to loyalty than broken promises at this time of year,” added Hop.

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