After online sales slumped to their lowest ever July growth last month, retailers saw little reprieve in August with growth of just 3% year-on-year.

According to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, though it is typical for sales to slow at the end of summer, the August’s result falls well below the 5-year average of +9.6%, as well as the 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month rolling averages (respectively +5.3%, +3.8%, +5.7%).

Looking at the results on a category level, clothing was one of the few bright spots for retailers, with sales up +9.1% against last year. Menswear had a particularly strong month, with sales hurtling up by +21.9%, while footwear sales also grew by +7.3%.


Unfortunately, the picture was not so positive for most categories. Both electricals and gifts continued their extended runs of negative growth (recording results of -22.5% and -30.3% this month), which started at the beginning of the year for electricals, and as far back as last September for gifts.

While online struggled, mobile sales have shown stronger results. Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini, says: “August was yet another disappointing month for online sales with low growth rates as we head into the peak trading period. Conversely, mobile sales have shown stronger performance over the last few months.

“During 2018 the pace of growth had been stalling, however throughout 2019 there has been renewed growth, with mobile sales +14% in August versus last year, higher than the 3- and 6-month monthly averages which were +9% and +8% respectively. This is particularly noticeable in smartphones, reporting +36% growth versus last August, and showing a rise in results since the beginning of the year.

“Retailers are focusing more than ever on their mobile customer experience, combined with increases in app advertising and more secure payment options, demonstrating that there is still room for growth and potentially market share by optimising the channel strategy.”