The UK’s online shoppers held back from buying in October, according to IMRG figures.

For while online retail sales grew by 12.6% during the month, compared to the same time last year, according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, that’s behind the five year October average of 14% growth, and the average year-on-year growth of 14.3% over the three months from August to October.

IMRG suggests that October should have been a strong month for ecommerce sales, given the poor performance on the high street. The fact that spending remained more subdued suggested, it said, a pre-Black Friday lull. At the same time, average conversion rates stood at 4.4% in October. That’s higher than October 2016 (4%) but lower than the three year average between 2013 and 2015 of 4.8%. When fewer people convert, says IMRG, it suggests a more research-led focus in the lead up to Black Friday.

Justin Opie, managing director of IMRG [IRDX VIMR], said: “October was a very average month in the context of 2017, with growth of 12.6% exactly in line with the Jan to Oct year-to-date rate. As the fall in conversion rate suggests, shoppers have been well trained to expect the best deals to be available during the Black Friday period, so we can anticipate…