Online sales surged 18.9% year on year in October, the highest growth rate in the UK since Black Friday 2014.
October also had the lowest conversion rate since February 2013 at 4.1%, according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. The low rate suggests that, ahead of Black Friday this year (25 November), increasing numbers of people are browsing but holding off on buying.
The low conversion rate may seem to contradict the high overall growth, but IMRG said it was sustained by a significant increase in both the number of site visitors and the amount of impulse buys at full price while browsing.
Accessories and gifts performed well, up 37.7% and 29.1% respectively year on year.
Across mobile channels, sales from tablets were up 6% on 2015.
Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini, said in-season discounts were boosting sales: “Despite some of the economic uncertainty we’ve experienced since the summer, consumer confidence clearly remains strong. The performance was likely boosted by multichannel retailers holding discount days which helped drive incremental traffic and sales.
”October’s results offer a very positive indication of what retailers can expect from the fast approaching festive period. However, it will be up to retailers to make sure they capitalise on these vitally important trading periods.”
Justin Opie, managing director, at IMRG, added: “In recent years Black Friday has become an incredibly important period for determining a retailer’s success at the peak time of year, so retailers will hope that higher basket values can be sustained over the coming few weeks.”