The apparel sector outperformed the total online market in July, with growth in excess of 20% year-on-year.
In a warmer-than-average month, consumers headed online to renew their summer wardrobes.
The overall clothing sector grew 22%, while sub-sectors including lingerie grew 31% and womenswear climbed 21%.
The growth rate of online lingerie sales is down on June, when it had soared 41%, but it is above average for this time of year, according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index.
Overall, online sales soared by 19% year-on-year last month, driven by heavy discounting.
Total online retail sales grew 17% year-on-year in the previous month.
The average basket value of goods purchased online fell from £80.52 in June to £78.29 in July.
This discounting may have been influenced in part by a need to compete with Amazon Prime Day (12 July), with Amazon announcing that customer orders surpassed Prime Day 2015 by more than 60% worldwide.
The Index growth was also, in part, fuelled by a resurgence in sales growth for multichannel retailers, which recorded a growth rate in online sales of 19% – a 13-month high.
This was supported by continued strong growth for online-only retailers where sales grew 18% YoY.
This surprise revival for multichannel retailers follows a sustained period of lower growth compared with their online-only counterparts.
Indeed, IMRG and Capgemini reported last month that the gap between the two groups had reached a record-high in June, when growth for the online-only retailers was a full 23 percentage-points ahead of the rate for the multichannel retailers, compared with June 2015.
Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in Retail Customer Engagement Design at Capgemini said: “It’s great to see that the Index registered such a strong July performance – the biggest growth since November 2014.
“Impressive sales from the multichannel retailers saw them drive growth and undoubtedly helped the month’s figures. Indeed, many of these retailers had reactive plans in place to match the discounts offered by Amazon Prime Day, which goes some way to explaining the drop in basket value. These low prices spurred high volume sales which ensured double digit growth.
“Finally, the figures were also bolstered by an encouraging economic position which increased consumer confidence, alongside, of course, some great weather.”
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG commented: “The strong performance in July appears to have been driven by the apparel sector, where all the sub-categories outperformed the total online market with growth in excess of 20% year-on-year.
“While we typically see average transaction values fall during the summer sale period, the latest Index results suggest multichannel retailers were discounting more heavily last month, with this group recording a -6% fall in average basket values from June, while the online-only merchants saw no change in average customer spend.”