After a positive display from the high street, the sun was also shining online in May, with UK online retail sales up by 19.4% year-on-year according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
In a month that saw scorching temperatures, a royal wedding, the FA Cup Final and two bank holidays, this was the highest year-on-year increase for May since 2010 and the strongest month overall since November 2016.
Additionally, a market conversion rate of 4.8% (compared to 4.6% last year) marked the first year-on-year increase for 2018, reversing a recent trend of decline.
The celebratory mood was reflected in a number of the sector results. Footwear and garden were the real standouts, recording year-on-year growth of 54.4% and 40.2% respectively. Even more significantly, during the record temperatures of the first bank holiday week, garden sector growth reached 74%.
Meanwhile, with the summer holiday season fast approaching, the health and beauty sector grew by 23%.
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement at Capgemini, said: “May is typically a strong month for retail, and that was borne out in the results on both sides of the coin.
“UK sunshine over-indexed in May – coming in 18% higher than the last two years – and temperatures have also resumed after the much colder start to 2018. This has clearly created big wins in the seasonal categories, but there is also a certain degree of optimism felt throughout the sectors driven by the royal wedding and the FIFA World Cup.
“According to GfK’s overall Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence is up by two points versus last month, with a positive outlook for the year ahead despite the uncertain economic backdrop. With this in mind, retailers need to maximise the opportunities around the uplift in customer spending, and make the most of influential external factors through relevant messaging and offerings to their customers to secure their market share."