Online sales in the UK increased by 7% for the first three months of this year, slowing to single-digit growth for the first time since the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index began in 2000.
The growth in online clothing, footwear and accessories sales slowed to 9% from 15% during the same period last year, according to the index, which tracks retailers including Asos.com, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Arcadia and Boohoo.com.
Sales made on a tablet or smartphone increased by 38% across all retail categories during the three months.
“The influence of sales via a tablet or smartphone, which are in effect the main vehicles for growth in the index, is a clear indication of just how valuable mobile platforms have become to the retail customer experience,” said Adhild Hop, head of retail consulting at IT consulting firm Capgemini.
“If it weren’t for mobile, the overall trends for etailing would be neutral at best. Retailers therefore need to expect that as online propositions become increasingly commoditised, the secret to differentiation and competitive advantage increasingly resides in the mobile customer experience.”
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at etail trade body IMRG, added: “There are a number of factors that may be influencing this apparent slowdown in online retail sales growth – such as a maturing market or uncertainty around the upcoming election.”