BRC – KPMG ONLINE RETAIL SALES MONITOR DECEMBER 2016

Covering the five weeks 27 November – 31 December 2016

  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 7.2% in December versus a year earlier, when they had increased by 15.1%. This is the first growth below 10% in four months. December’s growth was below the 3-month average of 9.5% and the 12-month average of 10.0%.
  • Over the 3 months to December, Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 9.5% year-on-year. Over the same period, Total Non-Food sales in the UK grew 1.3%.
  • In December 2016, Online sales represented 24.3% of total Non-Food sales in the UK, against 22.6% in December 2015. This is the brings the 12-month average penetration rate up to 21.7 per cent.
  • Over the 3 months to December, Online sales contributed 2.9 percentage points to the year-on-year growth of Total Non-Food sales, while In-Store sales made a negative contribution of 1.6 percentage points (rounded). In December, Online sales contributed 2.7 percentage points.
  • Over the 3 months to December, In-Store sales fell, posting declines of 1.2% on a total basis and 1.4% on a like-for-like basis. For the month of December, In-Store sales showed a decline.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium

“After three months of double digit growth for online sales, December saw the third slowest growth rate of 2016 at 7.2 per cent. At first glance this may appear a disappointing figure; but with December taking the second highest volume of online sales in the year, after November, this makes it an extremely tough comparable period. So overall, this is a relatively solid performance.

“As with total sales, there was a shift in spending towards the end of the month compared with last year and a slow start to the festive trading period was offset by a spending spree during the Christmas week. Online growth was also driven by Christmas gift purchases, keeping the beauty and toy categories at the top of the growth rankings for a second month.

“Shopping online is becoming increasingly popular during the festive month. The channel won its greatest share of December sales to date, with nearly a quarter of all purchases being made online. No doubt this was partly due to customers being able to receive deliveries right up to the two days before Christmas, thanks to retailers extending their delivery guarantees this year. The penetration rate for online sales now remains above 20 per cent for the fifteenth consecutive month.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG

“Online retail sales remained strong in December, with non-food growth up 7.2% compared to last year. Penetration rates also remained high at 24.3%, suggesting that more shoppers felt comfortable logging in than hitting the shops this Christmas.  

“Mirroring high street sales, toys, health and beauty products as well as men’s and children’s footwear proved popular this Christmas. Meanwhile, furniture struggled in light of purchases being prioritised elsewhere and women’s footwear slipped and failed to make it to e-checkouts.

“Most online categories noted sales growth in December, which will of course be welcome news. However, whilst the shopping channel continues to grow in popularity, retailers will need to battle with the logistics of fulfilment and the flurry of goods returned post-Christmas. Retailers will be hoping this doesn’t result in too much of a hangover.”