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Bumper Black Friday online

Online clothing sales rose 9.5% year on year in December as a result of Black Friday falling later in the calendar, new research has found. 

The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Sales Index shows total online sales rose by 9.4% year on year during the month.

December’s positive performance was mirrored in several categories: health and beauty rose 45.1% and clothing was up 9.5%. Electrical sales rose by 11.9%.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, said: “2019 is the year when Black Friday quite possibly papered over retail’s cracks. Demand was low earlier in the year, particularly over summer, and growth for the year was running at just 4.9% up to October.

“A solid December, albeit against weak year-on-year growth in 2018, off the back of an explosive November have made the full-year result look much better at, 6.7% – lower than our forecast of 9%, but nowhere near as bad as it was looking a few months’ back.

“The final quarter has been a lot more positive for online sales growth than it has looked for a long time, plus we’ve had the election and Brexit should actually, finally, become something. There are also major sporting events galore in 2020, which could stimulate retail spending.”

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant of retail insight at Capgemini, said: “The welcome boost in spend over the festive period after a somewhat subdued year was in fact a mixed story online. There was also a notably stronger performance by pure online-only retailers in comparison with the more traditional players, who failed to seize the growth when they perhaps need it most, leading to a total growth of 4.8% this year against last year, compared with a more healthy 10% for online only.

“Budget retailers also enjoyed a good year, taking advantage as consumers hunted out the best deals and outperforming both mid-tier and premium in the final quarter, although average basket value did fall 25% over November and December as a result.”

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