Online sales in 2016 rose by 16%, fuelled by soaring mobile shopping rates and strategic Black Friday purchasing.
Data from IMRG revealed that £133bn was spent online shopping in the UK during 2016, a 16% rise on 2015. This was boosted by a 47% rise in the number of transactions made by on mobile phones. However, sales via tablets fell by 3%.
Accessories and lingerie experienced particularly strong online sales growth – up 38% and 33% respectively. Online sales of clothing grew 18% growth across the year as a whole.
IMRG predicted a 14% growth in sales for 2017 – slightly lower than 2016 – as a result of international uncertainties and concerns about Brexit.
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini, commented: “Few would have anticipated the decline in sales made on tablets, but with sales made through overall mobile devices generating over 50% of visits, combined with the sweeping growth of both visits and conversions from smartphones, mobile continues to head towards being the number one sales channel.”
IMRG partially attributed the overall rise in sales to Black Friday moving increasingly online.
Justin Opie, managing director, at IMRG, said: “Following a below-expectation year in 2015, online sales growth has shot back up to an extent that seemed highly unlikely at the start of the year. Black Friday became an ‘online’ event in 2015, and this seems to have had a lasting effect on people’s shopping behaviour and preferences”.
Out of the 75 top retailers in the UK, 65 participated in Black Friday, with a 12% rise in online sales on Black Friday itself. This year the week surrounding Black Friday also showed an increase in sales, as retailers aimed to smooth pressures around the Black Friday weekend.
IMRG and Capgemini are predicting further growth in online sales in 2017, forecasting a further 14% growth in online sales.