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Rise in online shopping at Christmas [Western Daily Press (UK)]
[January 11, 2014]

Rise in online shopping at Christmas [Western Daily Press (UK)]

(Western Daily Press (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) More Britons than ever did their Christmas shopping online in December as almost one in five non-food purchases were made on the internet.

Web sales growth accelerated to 19.2 per cent compared with the same month in 2012, the fastest rate for more than three years - while overall UK retail sales grew by just 0.4 per cent on a like- for-like basis.

The data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey carried out by KPMG showed online trade represented 18.6 per cent of total nonfood sales in December, up from 16.5 per cent the year before.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "More of us clicked into Christmas than ever before, with online nonfood sales growth putting in its best performance since March 2010 and accounting for nearly 20 per cent of spending. The surge in the use of tablets and smartphones last year, together with the ever-faster delivery times achieved by an increasing number of retailers, has provided a new spur of growth to online shopping." Across the wider non-food sector, like-for-like sales in the last quarter were up 1.5 per cent while a decline in food revenues accelerated to 0.6 per cent indicating the pressure on beleaguered major supermarkets as squeezed shoppers turned to their discounter rivals. Ms Dickinson said the retail figures came in the context of a year of "encouraging but fragile recovery", adding: "This is a respectable result overall. While confidence levels were higher than the previous year, this wasn't always matched by more money in pockets." David McCorquodale, KPMG head of retail, said "Whilst store sales continue to flatline, online sales remain the main driver of growth for the sector, contributing nearly three quarters of the uptick in nonfood sales in the last quarter of 2013.

The winners this Christmas were those retailers with slick multichannel operations, who could offer consumers the flexibility to shop how, and when, they wanted to." In clothing, online sales represented 21.2 per cent of sales in December, up from 18 per cent in 2012, while furniture and flooring products bought on the internet represented nearly a third of all sales, at 32.4 per cent - though this was down a little on 32.6 per cent last year. The figure for electrical goods and toys was 14.4 per cent, up from last year's 11.9 per cent but a fall on the 15.5 per cent who shopped online for these goods in November. This was attributed to consumers searching early on the web for indemand Christmas products such as video game consoles before they went out of stock.

MORE ONLINE When a Costwolds restaurant was put on the market it was quickly snapped up - by buyers in Australia. More at (c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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