Despite the apparent failings of the high street in the first quarter of 2011, online sales increased by 18% during the first three months of this year, research by IMRG-Capgemini has found.

The IMRG-Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index found that e-tail trading in the UK grew at its fastest rate in the first quarter since 2008, with March spending alone reaching £5.1bn.

Clothing accessories was the big winner in online sales for the month of March, up 21% month-on-month and a colossal 59% year-on-year, whilst Health & Beauty products increased by 32% compared with March 2010.

Tina Spooner, Director of Information, IMRG, said “The index reveals an encouraging performance for the e-retail market during March and confirms that online continues to be the beacon for the UK retail market during these tough economic conditions, with the high street suffering its worst drop in sales in 15 years during the same period.

“The 18 per cent annual growth recorded in the first quarter of 2011 is in line with our prediction for the year.”

Further research from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG found that overall UK trading fell by 3.5% in March, the worst year-on-year performance in retail sales since 1995.

Online sales for this period increased by 14%, equating to an average online spend of £82 per person.

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com