By Max Clarke

Online retail sales for small businesses continue to grow, outperforming both the high street and performance in 2010, new research suggests.

The research, by ecommerce specialist, Actinic, shows a growth of 7% in both sales revenue and in the numbers of orders processed in the second quarter 2011, when compared to Q2 2010.

In contrast, in Q2 2010 growth was running at over double this rate (15%), and with the Q1 2011 figures showing an average 9% increase, the trend is downwards. However, these latest results still compare very favourably with high street retailers where June gave only 1.5% growth, which was better than expected.

“These figures are not a big surprise,” comments Nick Kington, managing director at Actinic Online. “Consumer spending is clearly being hit hard and online retailers are not immune to tough times. However, some web merchants are thriving, highlighting that a combination of good merchandising, marketing and customer service can bring success even in the current climate.”

The average order value has remained virtually unchanged at £72.08 for Q2 2011 compared to £72.16 for Q2 2010. The survey does highlight that there are still e-retailers experiencing strong growth. For example, many specialist web stores in the arts and crafts sector are thriving.

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