According to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), online retail sales showed strong growth through July.
Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 11.2 % in July versus a year earlier. This is lower than the above trend growth of 14.7% seen in July 2015 but up from last month (9.0%) and in line with the 12-month average of 11.1%. Online sales continue to outperform total sales.
Over the three months to July, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 11.1% year-on-year. Over the same period, store sales fell by 1% on a total basis and 1.3 % on a like-for-like basis. The pace of decline in store sales has slowed this month, but growth remains firmly in negative territory, the BRC notes.
In July 2016, online sales represented 20.4 % of total non-food sales in the UK, against 19.4% in July 2015. While the non-food online penetration rate has remained above 20% for seven consecutive months, this is below the record 22.4% penetration seen in November last year.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson commented: “Online (non-food) sales echoed the performance of total sales this month, with growth rising back to the 12 month average. The brief drop-off in online sales activity in the few days following the referendum turned out to be a blip as consumers, who had turned their attentions to browsing for details about the EU, quickly returned to spending online.
“As with instore sales, there was widespread promotional activity in July. That is usual for this time of year, although a number of retailers undertook longer and broader promotions as a result of the substantial accumulated stock resulting from a sluggish first half of 2016. We’ll have to watch and wait to see if the success of promotions spills over on to full price sales.
“Whilst there doesn’t appear to be much sign of the reported fall in consumer confidence feeding into sales, with the rapid and multi-faceted evolution of internet centred technology, customers are becoming increasingly savvy and expectant of low prices. Given the fierce competition in the market, retailers have little choice but to rise to the challenge.”