Online continues to drive sales growth for UK retailers

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 11:  In this photo illustration a laptop displays the shopping basket on the eBay website on August 11, 2014 in Bristol, United Kingdom. This week marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale. Since that sale - a copy of an album by the artist Sting - online retailing has grown to such an extent that it is now claimed that 95 percent of the UK population has shopped online and close to one in four deciding to shop online each week.  (Photo Illustration by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Online sales continued to be the primary driver of sales for UK retailers over the five weeks covering May 29-July 2.

According to the latest BRC – KPMG online retail sales monitor, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 9.0% in June versus a year earlier, when they had risen by 17.6% over the previous year. Online sales represented 20.6% of total non-food sales in the UK, against 19.8% in June 2015.

Over the three months to June, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 9.7% year-on-year. Over the same period, store sales declined 1.9% on a total basis and 2.2% on a like-for-like basis – the steepest decline since the start of our monitor in December 2012 on both measures.

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British Retail Consortium chief executive officer, Helen Dickinson, comments: “Online sales growth slowed this month. While lower than last month’s growth it remains a solid performance, considering that June 2015 had recorded the best growth of that year. Online sales grew across all categories except footwear and increased their share of total non- food sales as stores sales slipped further into negative territory.

“While online clearly remains the primary driver of sales growth for UK retailers, shoppers are no longer thinking in channels and are more and more often using both digital and physical stores as part of their customer journey from initial consideration to the actual transaction. Today’s figures re-emphasise the need for physical stores to be a destination for retail experiences rather than specifically and solely for the sales transaction itself.”

KPMG head of retail, KPMG David McCorquodale, echoes: “The gloomy weather failed to persuade shoppers onto the virtual aisles which meant summer fashion sales resembled tumble-weed on a catwalk and footwear sales flip-flopped considerably. Rather than browse new summer collections, consumers instead preferred to accessorise with hats, scarves and bangles.

“With the referendum fallout still uncertain, retailers will need to make sure all channels are ready and resilient to cope with the impact of a Brexit.”

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