Online retail sales growth rate doubles in first quarter as shoppers ditch surfing on their tablets for smartphones

 
Kasmira Jefford
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A woman looks at a smartphone as she sit
Smartphone sales jumped by 96 per cent in the first quarter (Source: Getty)

Online retailers have enjoyed a strong start to the year after shoppers splurged almost twice as much on their sites as they did during the same period last year.

The latest figures from industry analysts IMRG and Capgemini yesterday showed online sales, excluding travel, grew by 15 per cent in the first quarter compared with the same time last year, when sales increased by eight per cent.

The average basket value also crept up to £81 from £77 in the first quarter of last year, rising to £82 in March.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said people using their smartphones to shop continued to soar, with sales growing at nine times the rate of sales completed on tablet devices during the first quarter. Sales on smartphones were up 96 per cent, compared to just 11 per cent for tablets.

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"There is no doubt that larger screen sizes have enhanced the user experience on smartphones over recent years which is a key factor in the shift towards shopping on these devices," she said.

Online sales in March alone grew by 11 per cent compared with the previous month thanks to home and garden retailers, which recorded a 26 per cent year-on-year rise in sales. This was the sector’s highest increase since February 2014.

Accessories were also in demand, recording a 58 per cent year–on-year growth, which also set a new record for the sector since May 2015.

Richard Tremellen, retail insight and data specialist at Capgemini, said: “Double digit growth for online sales in the first quarter is a hugely positive sign for the sector, and one which is further strengthened by an increase in the average amount spent online during the period. There appears to be a sizeable shift in consumers’ confidence in online shopping.“

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