26 March 2018 - Janet Bird
Proving that it is an ill wind that blows no good, the 'Beast from the East' boosted online sales at the end of February.
Shoppers deterred from hitting the shops by the heavy snow that marked the last week of February instead spent their money online, driving a 3.5 percent lift in sales compared to the week before.
This contributed to a 13.1 percent overall increase in retail sales year on year, according to the latest figures from IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
The figures also showed that the average basket value (ABV) was up £11 in February 2018 compared to the same time last year.
However, the percentage of site visitors that actually complete a purchase was 4.2 percent compared to 4.6 percent in 2017, suggesting that shoppers are spending more time browsing before they buy.
While the number of people using smartphones to make online purchases remained strong, showing a 38.5 percent increase on last year's figures, the rate of growth had slowed from the previous year's 57 percent rise.
The use of tablets for online shopping continued a four month decline, down 6.7 percent year on year.
The most popular online purchases were in the health and beauty sector, which grew 33.85 percent in February 2018 compared to the same month the previous year.
Clothing sales were up 14.9 percent this February compared to last - a rise driven largely by a rise in sales of accessories and footwear, which were up 22.3 percent and 20.4 percent respectively.
The online purchase of gifts was also up nine percent in February 2018 compared to a year earlier.