Online retailers witnessed their highest level of sales growth since Black Friday 2014 last month, according to new data out today.
The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index has revealed that the value of online retail sales grew 18.9% year-on-year (YoY) in October.
This was building on a comparatively low rate in October 2015 (when growth was +8.7%), but it still represents the highest YoY growth rate in any month since November 2014, when Black Friday had a huge impact on pre-Christmas shopping patterns.
Interestingly, the Index also recorded its lowest conversion rate – the percentage of website visits that result in sales – since February 2013, at just 4.1%.
This may suggest that, ahead of Black Friday this year, increasing numbers of people are visiting company websites to browse and build wish-lists.
Although this may initially seem to contradict the high overall Index growth, it may have been sustained by a significant increase in both the number of site visitors and the amount of impulse purchasing completed at full price whilst browsing.
Justin Opie, managing director of IMRG said: “On the surface a drop in conversion should logically lead to lower growth, but a 5-year high for basket values and the likelihood of increased site traffic as people start researching in advance of Black Friday seems to have offset any negative impact.
“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.”
Across mobile channels, tablets made a resurgence, with sales completed on the device up 6% YoY and 18% month on month.
In the lead-up to Black Friday, it may be the ease of browsing multiple sites and products on a tablet that has boosted their use over smartphones, which offer smaller display screens.