The travel sector saw a return to online sales growth in May, with a 12% increase on the same time last year. There was a 13% rise on April’s figures and the average transaction value was up by more than £200 year on year to £869.
This was attributed by researchers who compile the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index to the huge hike in flight taxes introduced in November last year and an increase in ticket prices as airlines look to recoup losses suffered during the recession.
UK shoppers spent a total of £5.3 billion online last month, up by 18% on May 2010 and a 2% rise on April’s figures. To date, £25.7 billion has been spent online during 2011, according to the e-retail sales figures.
Capgemini head of retail consulting and technology Chris Webster said: “May was another strong month for online retail with sales jumping 18% on this time last year. May also highlighted some interesting trends in shopping behaviour. Whilst the high street suffers in the wake of the struggling economy consumers continue to migrate online.
“However, it is important to note the emerging disparity between the big ticket items, such as travel and electrical goods, and the less expensive items, like clothing and alcohol. As economy suffers, expensive purchases are increasingly seen as discretionary. By omitting the travel sector from the figures, the year on year growth increases to an even more impressive 21.5%.”
IMRG information director Tina Spooner added: “Online is continuing to set the pace in retail, with both clothing and alcohol e-retailers performing particularly well in May and boasting annual growth year-to-date of more than 25%.
“Overall, since January the Index has grown 18% year-on-year, which is in line with our forecast for 2011. However, we are seeing a pretty clear split between the sectors selling low-cost products and those selling high-value ones, with travel, electricals and home and garden lagging some way behind in terms of growth.
“So although overall growth is very positive, it seems perhaps consumers are wary about making those big-ticket purchases in the current economic climate.”