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BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor: March online sales up 12.8% on 2013

Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 12.8% in March versus a year earlier. In March 2013, they had increased by 6.2% over the previous year.

In March, online sales represented 17.3% of total Non-Food sales of our Monitor, against 15.8% in March 2013.

Furniture saw a decline, while the Other Non-Food category was the strongest contributor to growth. Excluding online, that category would have seen no growth.

Online sales contributed 1.6 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales, one of the highest contributions outside Christmas, flattered by a low base in March 2013, which included Easter.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "The long Easter holiday often provides consumers with an opportunity to go out to visit the shops and so the lateness of the break this year has helped to contribute to a growth in online sales.

"Online made up 17.3 per cent of total non-food sales this month. The contribution to overall growth of non-food, at 1.6 per cent, is also one of the biggest boosts we have seen from online sales outside the Christmas period. Electrical items and other non-food performed particularly strongly.

"Those retailers who have developed compelling internet and multi-channel offers will have been seen good results in March. To understand the full underlying trend, it will be important to see April's results as well."

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: Whilst store sales suffered from Easter falling into April this year, online benefitted from this lack of distraction: sales increased by 13 per cent on last year's levels when the bank holiday tempted shoppers away from their devices.

These figures demonstrate that sometimes what hurts the high street helps online sales, but only those retailers with strong multichannel operations will feel the benefits. If the weather holds, this trend could reverse next month, with online sales growth slowing, whilst the high street sees an uptick in footfall as people head out to enjoy the bank holiday.

Another contributing factor to this year on year rise is consumers' ever increasing access to 4G technology. 4G makes the online shopping experience faster and far more reliable by reducing drop-out rates. This technological advance means transactions can be completed more successfully and should encourage more consumers to opt for the convenience of mobile shopping, driving the shift from in store to online.

Source : BRC

15 April 2014
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