Sharp Increase In Online Christmas Sales - BRC

New data has revealed there was a surge in online shopping in the run up to the Christmas period.

The survey, published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said that an increasing use of tablets and smartphones, as well as fast delivery times added to the sharp rise in online shopping before Christmas.

In its findings, it said web sales growth had reached 19.2% when compared with the same month in 2012. It was the fastest rate recorded since March 2010.

When looking at the overall retail sales in the UK, on a like-for-like basis, sales grew by just 0.4%.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 19.2% in December versus a year earlier. In December 2012, they had increased by 18.4% over the previous year. In clothing, online purchases represented 21.2% of sales in December, up from 18% in 2012, while furniture and flooring products bought on the internet represented almost a third of all sales (32.4%). This figure was, however, down slightly on 2012 (32.6%).

The figure for electrical goods and toys was 14.4%, up from last year's 11.9%, but still less than the 15.5% who shopped online for these goods in November.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "As expected, more of us clicked into Christmas than ever before, with online non-food sales growth putting in its best performance since March 2010 and accounting for nearly 20% 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.

"Retailers have invested significantly in their websites and delivery times, and this enhanced offer clearly struck a chord with customers who valued flexibility, choice and convenience whenever and wherever they did their shopping."

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KMPG, added: "With one in five items bought on the internet in December, this really was an online Christmas for the retail sector.

"The statistics show that 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 non-food 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."


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