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BRC-Hitwise: A Positive Start to 2019 For Online Retailers

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January's BRC-Hitwise Digital Retail Insight Monitor - a monthly measure of traffic to UK online retail websites - shows that 2019 has started positively for online retailers.

Top line figures from the latest report:

TOTAL RETAIL VISITS: 3.1bn

TOTAL RETAIL PAGE VIEWS: 29.3bn

RETAIL VISITS BY MOBILE DEVICES: 56.0%

PAGES VIEWED PER VISIT: 9.6

DURATION ON WEBSITES: 5.58

James Hardiman, Junior Analyst, Retail Insight and Analytics, British Retail Consortium:

“The growth of 1.8% in the new year is welcome reprieve for retailers with an online presence, after the declines seen in the final quarter of 2018. Despite the customary lower browsing levels in comparison to the festive season, this year on year growth provides an opportunity for retailers to capitalise by catering for either consumers on the hunt for a bargain, or those looking for the latest releases.

“Although this growth has translated into strong results for most categories, there were still two – namely Consumer Electronics and Classifieds – that saw declines. For the latter, this is a continuation of the recent trend, which now stretches the run to seven months since the category last saw growth. For the former, this coupled with its low share of online retail traffic highlights the recent plight of the category which relies on innovative products to capture attention.

“As January is a month typified by the post-Christmas sales, direct marketing methods are an ideal way for retailers to spread the word with their eye-catching discount rates. This favours the online market, as consumers are more price-sensitive on the channel than through traditional retailing.”

Giles Longhurst, SVP and General Manager, Hitwise

“The new year has started positively. Online retail visits grew +1.8% YoY; a turnaround from the -0.6% YoY decline in December. This was seen among Department Stores (from -0.2% in December to +2.1% in January) and Health & Beauty (from -1.7% to +4.3%) categories reversing their end of year results.

“Two other industries traditionally aligned to the Christmas peak also had further acceleration in January, including: Clothing, Fitness & Footwear (from +0.7% to +3.9%) and Food & Drink (+4.8% to 8.3%).

“These rises were very much aligned to the growing health and ethically-conscious consumer; particularly as this trend becomes more widespread in the UK. Searches for “Veganuary” had grown 25% YoY, with the Food & Drink industry seeing a number of new terms, like:  “vegan hotdogs”, “vegan nuggets” and “vegan blue cheese”. Searches for “dry January” also rose 24% YoY. Nights out were swapped for nights in, with branded searches for subscription box services, like “Hello Fresh”, “Gusto” and “Simply Cook”, among the top-rising terms.

“Overall, January has started on a positive note with a number of categories returning to, or accelerating, growth. The rise of ethical and sustainable food and fashion is only one reason why retailers need to stay close to the consumer. Brands need to understand what customers are caring about heading into 2019, and how they can best respond to these needs.”

Source : Insight DIY Team and BRC-Hitwise

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11 February 2019

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