The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG have released sales figures for the month of October, with online continuing to demonstrate growth.
Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 11.1% in October versus a year earlier, when they had increased by 9.2%, the report reveals. This is the third highest growth this year, above the 3-month average of 9.3% and just ahead of the 12-month average of 10.8%.
New product launches in consumer electronics is cited as the key driver of online growth, promoting the Other Non-Food category to second in this month’s online rankings table. The share of online sales for the Other Non-Food category increased by 2.1 percentage points in October, to 18.4%.
Over the three months to October, in-store sales fell, posting declines of 1.3% on a total basis and 1.5% on a like-for-like basis. However, for the month of October, in-store sales posted growth.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE commented: “Online sales in October saw their best growth since July with an 11.1% increase on last year and pushed ahead of the 12- month average of 10.8%. This was largely driven by consumer electronics for which online proved to be the shopping channel of choice, with attractive deals on existing stock and gaming enthusiasts enticed by new product launches.
“There are signs that the Christmas trading season is well underway, notably for the health and beauty category, which received a boost from online sales of gift sets, making it October’s top performer. Online continues to account for a large proportion of non-food sales with over £1 in £5 being spent online; however, stores also made a positive contribution – the best since January.
“The choice and convenience provided to shoppers by digital channels have intensified competition over the years and will continue to do so. While retailers have succeeded to date in protecting customers from rising costs, online channels continue to become increasingly valuable as a source of information to the price sensitive customer, against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.”
KPMG UK head of retail Paul Martin added: “October appeared to be an online shopping bonanza, with non-food sales up 11.1% on last year – even better than last month’s results.
“With Black Friday nearing, November will mark one of the busiest online shopping periods of the year. Retailers will need to ensure they are poised to hit the ground running as shoppers log-in to snap a bargain.”
Commenting on the figures, Salmon head of marketing and communications Patrick Munden noted: “Overall retail spending has leaped to its strongest annual figures since January, and is a testament to the dominance of online services. The BRC stats show that online sales grew by 11.1% during the three months leading up to October, while overall UK sales increased by 1.7% compared to last year’s figures. Importantly, in the run up to Black Friday retailers must capitalise on the strong consumer demand and prepare for the biggest retail event of the year; our own predictions expect ‘Black Fiveday’ to be the first ever £5billion shopping week in UK history with over half of the sales (£2.55billion) being made on mobile.
“Ensuring the necessary logistical operations are in place couldn’t be more vital to success. Vendors that recognise the impending increase in demand and manage their supply chain will be the ones to best cope with the high volume of sales, especially as the run-up to Christmas begins. Implementing the appropriate back-end systems will also ensure that shoppers are driven to their products and away from competitors that will be looking to accomplish the same.”