Record online contribution to non-food sales
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium
“Online channels achieved the highest share of total non-food retail spend on record in the three months to January, despite the 8 per cent growth being somewhat below the trend of late. In fact, the rolling twelve-month average growth to January 2017 is the lowest since the monitor began in 2012, falling below double-digits for the first time.
“As with total sales, online sales in January were set against a strong comparative period, as January 2016 recorded the highest growth of last year. However, with £1 in every £4 of non-food spending being spent online consistently over the last three months, this provided enough momentum to largely shield online growth from the slowdown of non-food sales overall. It was stores that bore the brunt of the slowdown; posting their deepest three-month decline on record as the demand during retailers’ clearance sales was predominantly online.
“As the clearance events came to an end, full price items didn’t attract the same demand, echoing a sense of caution from consumers and ultimately resulting in a quiet end to the month for many retailers.”
Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG
“Unlike the chilly high street, online retail sales continued to grow in January, with non-food online sales up eight per cent compared to last year. The month’s cold snap is likely to have encouraged high street hibernation, with shoppers preferring to browse from the comfort of their own homes.
“Indeed, consumer focus really did turn indoors during the month, with sales of furniture and other household items performing particularly well. Footwear sales on the other hand continued to struggle and infrequently made it to e-checkouts.
“Online retail channels will continue to grow in popularity, and with increased pricing pinching the consumer purse, retailers will need to balance price, personalisation and customer experience seamlessly in order to grab the attention of their customers.”
Notes to editors:
Online (including mail order and phone) sales of non-food are transactions which take place over the internet, or via mail order or phone. Online sales growth is the percentage change in the value of online sales compared to those in the same period a year earlier. It is a guide to the growth of sales made by these non-store channels. It should be noted that online sales are still a small proportion of total UK retail sales. Estimates based on ONS figures show about 10 per cent of total UK retail sales (food and non-food) are achieved via the internet.
The responses provided by retailers within each sales category are weighted (based on weightings derived from the ONS Family Spending survey) to reflect the contribution of each category to total retail sales, thus making it representative of UK retail sales as a whole. Because the figures compare sales this month with the comparable period last year, a seasonal adjustment is not made. However, changes in the timing of Bank Holidays and Easter can create distortions, which should be considered in the interpretation of the data.
As well as receiving sales value direct from the retailers in the scheme the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor also receives food and drink sales value data from the IGD’s Market Track Scheme.
In its role as sponsor of the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, KPMG is responsible for the aggregation of the retail sales data provided by the retailers on a weekly basis. This data consists of the relevant current week’s sales data and comparative sales figures for the same period in the prior year. The aggregation has been performed by KPMG on data for periods following 2 April 2000 and equivalent prior periods. The accuracy of the data is entirely the responsibility of the retailers providing it. The sponsorship role has been performed by KPMG since 10 April 2000 and the same for the aggregation of comparative sales figures for the period from 2 April 2000 it is not responsible for the aggregation of any data included in this Monitor relating to any period prior to 2 April 2000.
The commentary from KPMG is intended to be of general interest to readers but is not advice or a recommendation and should not be relied upon without first taking professional advice. Anyone choosing to rely on it does so at his or her own risk. To the fullest extent permitted by law, KPMG will accept no responsibility or liability in connection with its sponsorship of the Monitor and its aggregation work to any party other than the BRC.
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The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is the UK’s leading retail trade association. It represents the full range of retailers, large and small, multiples and independents, food and non-food, online and store based.
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