Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 12:38 UK

Weather effect on online shopping

A screen showing internet shopping
The weather has had an effect on online shopping

Clothes sales were up but alcohol dipped in popularity among UK online shoppers in July owing to the mixed summer weather, a survey has said.

Total online sales rose by 15.7% in July compared with June, increasing to £4.2bn, according to the retail research group IMRG Capgemini.

The increase was led by clothing sales, but the wet summer meant alcohol demand was down as barbecues were cancelled.

Heavy discounting and promotions also helped to drive sales.

The figures signalled a rebound from the previous month, as sales in June had fallen by 1.3% compared with May.

Conversion rate

The group said that online clothing retailers were getting better at converting the number of people browsing their websites into actual buyers. One in 15 visitors bought items, the poll found.

"It is evident that online merchants are becoming more sophisticated in their marketing efforts and e-mail communications to their customers, the result of which can be seen in higher conversion rates, particularly in the clothing sector," said Tina Spooner, of IMRG.

Online spending on electrical items in July rose by 11% compared with June.

In May, the Office of Fair Trading said that almost a third of internet users were not shopping online because they did not trust the system.

Personal security was high on the list of concerns.

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