There were headlines recently that online retailers had experienced the weakest August in terms of year-on-year growth since 2000.
The growth for August was 5%, the smallest percentage since the IMRG Capgemini index started recording retail sales data 15 years ago.
But there is good news behind those isolated stats. Year-to-date figures are up by a healthier 10% and Capgemini's head of digital, Alex Smith-Bingham remains optimistic for retailers.
Ecommerce growth is “far more positive”
Mr Smith-Bingham said that shoppers during August were most likely taking advantage of the sun by shopping on the high street, and figures were also affected by the late bank holidays.
IMRG's chief information officer, Tina Spooner, said growth had been “far more positive” since the index recorded a 7% growth in the first quarter of 2015, and considered August's growth to be “a blip”.
Speaking to The Guardian, IMRG's editor, Andy Mulcahy, also pointed out that sales would likely rationalise over time anyway, and that in recent years, growth had remained so buoyant because of the rise of mobile and tablet ecommerce.
Nonetheless, IMRG identified five possible areas that could have affected August's growth. These were: shopping reaching its peak; disruption from the general election, strength of the pound affecting custom from overseas buyers; people spending on leisure rather that ecommerce; and shoppers holding out until Black Friday.
Will ecommerce boom again for Black Friday?
Earlier this year, warnings were made by John Lewis about the negative impact of Black Friday sales – namely that shoppers would buy Christmas presents early at a discount and retailers would suffer overall. It remains to be seen how the rest of the year will pan out for ecommerce sales, although a year-to-date growth of 10% suggests it has not plateaued quite yet.
Next month will also give us a better idea of whether shoppers are holding out for Black Friday, or if the traditional American sale day is not as much of a draw this year.