Strong start to the year for online retail sales

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The online retail sector has started the year on a high, recording a solid 15% annual growth in January 2016.

According to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index online retail sales in January 2016 more than doubled the 7% recorded in January 2015.

The strong performance suggests that the Black Friday effect – which appeared to influence a lingering downturn in sales growth in Q1 of last year – has not been repeated this year.

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The report suggests that if the positive performance continues, it may be that the Black Friday effect was a blip last year due to the surprising scale of the event, or it could be that other factors – such as uncertainty around the election and strength of sterling – also played a significant role in suppressing growth in early 2015.

The Index also highlighted an emerging trend in terms of the growing performance disparity between sales made via smartphones and those on tablet devices – with annual growth for tablets up just 13%, while smartphone growth was up 96%.

Richard Tremellen, retail insight and data specialist, Capgemini, says these results are “a strong indication that consumer confidence is continuing to grow and puts us in a good position for a strong 2016”.

Tremellen remarks: “The sustained growth of sales via smartphones in January also demonstrates the progress retailers have made in developing the customer experience on their mobile platforms.”

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