July was a bit wet in the UK. According to the met office, rainfall was “generally well above average”. When it rains in the UK, people generally don’t fancy going to the shops much. Figures just out from the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) – a leading industry body for global e-retailing – show that UK Internet retail sales rose to £4.2bn in July, up from £2.3bn in the same month a year earlier.
The weather wasn’t the only contributory factor. Improvements in retailer web site design and greater penetration of broadband Internet connections make the experience far better for the shopper, so we are seeing a shift in behavior to greater shopping on-line. This can only be a continuing trend as a greater number of consumers become more and more comfortable with taking their on-line research all the way through to purchase.
This July year on year increase also comes in spite of five Bank of England base rate increases over the same period which many analysts were expecting would have had a negative impact on the overall level of retail sales in the UK. The increases though do seem to be driven by discounting and summer sales, tactics a number of retailers have used this summer to get Brits spending.