Online sales surge despite Brexit

Online sales increased in June, despite falling consumer confidence in the run-up to the EU referendum.

The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index revealed that online sales grew by 17 per cent year on year in June.

It also recorded month-on-month growth of two per cent, which is similar to last year’s figure.

In mobile retail, sales made on tablets continued to dip drastically, with year-on-year growth slowing to 0.4 per cent. This is the lowest figure recorded since monitoring began in 2013.

However, sales on smartphones continued to soar, experiencing 69 per cent year-on-year growth. This follows on from the strong growth of 117 per cent recorded in June 2015.

Said IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner: “While the index results reveal a strong performance during June, it is too early to say whether the Brexit vote will have any long-term impact on the UK’s online retail sector. However, early signs from a recent IMRG poll of retailers found that around two-thirds of online merchants saw a slowdown in sales in the few days after the EU referendum, with most reporting sales appearing to recover to ‘normal’ levels again afterwards.

“Smartphones continue to take an increasing share of mobile commerce with year-on-year growth rates also surging ahead. Conversely, sales completed on tablet devices flat-lined during June, which effectively means that all growth in mobile commerce came via smartphones last month.”

Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in retail customer engagement design, Capgemini, said: “It’s widely agreed that consumer confidence is falling, and this is something that is being heard from retailers across a myriad of sectors. As a result, it’s great to see that, both in the run-up to the referendum and in the immediate aftermath, online sales growth remained strong.

“These figures obviously don’t encapsulate the entire Brexit fallout, and the full impact of the referendum is something that we will not be able to wholly analyse for a number of months. In the meantime, retailers need to continue to focus on ensuring they give their customers every reason to shop with them.”