Covering the four weeks 02 April – 29 April 2017

  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 10.3% in April versus a year earlier, when they fell by 6.6%. This is the fastest growth since November, above the 3-month and 12-month averages of 8.2% and 9.3% respectively. This figure is positively distorted by the timing of Easter.
  • Over the 3 months to April, Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 8.2% year-on-year, the highest since January. Over the same period, Total Non-Food sales in the UK grew by 0.7%, the first positive 3-month average since January.
  • In April 2017, Online sales represented 21.6% of total Non-Food sales in the UK, against 21.1% in April 2016. On a 3-month basis, penetration rate was 21.9%.
  • Over the 3 months to April, Online sales contributed 1.6 percentage points to the year-on-year growth of Total Non-Food sales. In contrast, In-Store sales made a negative 3-month contribution of 0.9 percentage points. In April, Online sales contributed 1.9 percentage points to Non-Food growth.
  • Over the 3 months to April, In-Store sales fell, posting declines of 1.3% on a total basis and 1.8% on a like-for-like basis. For the month of April, In-Store sales grew, boosted by the timing of Easter, showing their strongest growth since January 2016.


Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium

“April marked a reversal of the trend of slowing levels of growth for online non-food sales with the strongest annual increase since November. This pick-up was mirrored in the overall non-food figure which was distorted positively by the timing of Easter.

“Trendy consumer electronics continue to be online bestsellers, while toys and health and beauty products topped the Easter purchases.

“Online continues to account for over a fifth of total non-food sales, but as we’ve seen in previous years, the school holidays boosted family visits to physical shopping destinations over online sites, resulting in the fastest growth for stores since last January.

“Looking at the bigger picture, the twelve-month average shows a downward trend in online growth, albeit reversed in April. This points to the significance of retailers’ ongoing efforts to invest in the customer offer across all channels, as they contend with rising cost pressures and dampened consumer spend.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG

“For online retailers who eagerly awaited this year’s late Easter, their patience paid off. Compared to last month’s comparatively low growth, April’s non-food online sales were up by a much healthier 10.3 per cent.

“On the other hand, penetration rates in April dipped slightly to 21.6 per cent, adding to the gradual decline noted since the beginning of the year. This month’s decline is most likely the result of shoppers feeling more inclined to hit the high street, helped by the milder weather and the days getting longer.

“Easter holidays resulted in a surge of online toy sales to keep the kids entertained. Similarly, the additional free time seemingly prompted shoppers to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into home improvements, with furniture and homeware sales proving popular. 

“The prominence of online retail is only set to continue, and critical to a retailer’s success will be their ability to effectively combine online and offline sales activities."