It shows how much harder the pure-play online retailers have to work to build trust with the consumer
As the British Retail Consortium and Office for National Statistics argued over how good or bad Christmas on the high street was, it was gratifying to see total online sales up a very positive 17% year on year when internet shoppers spent £5.46bn in December, a 3.8% sales rise compared with November.
During the festive shopping season, the peak week for online shopping was the second week in December - a week later than the peak week in December 2008 - as etailers put up an aggressive fight against the recession.
It’s interesting to note that between January and November last year, both multichannel and online-only retailers followed a similar growth pattern as the total etail market. However, during December the IMRG Capgemini E-Retail Sales Index showed a monthly decline of 7.6% in sales for online-only retailers, whereas the index for multichannel retailers rose 13% from,the previous month.
While growth rates may have differed slightly during 2009, this December we saw for the first time that the index of these two splits of retailers diverged significantly in index value. Is this an indication of the trust advantage high street retailers have when consumers are thinking about delivery promises and gift returns and the increasing influence of click-and-collect? I also believe this possibly shows how much harder pure-play etailers have to work to win trust among consumers, especially those outside of the big-name players.
IMRG estimated the total UK etail market was worth £49.8bn in 2009, up from £43.8bn in 2008. Growth may be more difficult this year, but it will continue and so we are forecasting a 13% rise in 2010, estimating the market to be worth £56bn.