Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 11.2% in April versus a year earlier. In April 2013, they had increased by 6.3% over the previous year.
In April, online sales represented 16.1% of total non-food sales of the BRC's monitor, against 15.9% in April 2013. April’s penetration is the lowest recorded by the monitor since last April, an effect of the Easter distortion.
The other non-food category contributed almost 80% of the growth, followed for the first time by furniture, a category helped by the Easter break, which recorded its best contribution since the monitor began in December 2012.
Online sales contributed 0.5 percentage points to the growth of non-food total sales, the lowest contribution since March 2013.
Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, says: “Online sales have grown steadily over the last year with a twelve month average change of 12.7% year on year which is testament to the great British online retail offering. However the April 2014 growth of 11.2% against 12.8% in March shows that, when an opportunity like the Easter holiday arises, customers like to enjoy a great experience in store.
“Retailers know that customers want to experience shopping across all channels and have risen to the challenge of using digital technology to draw customers into new format stores where everything is available at the touch of a button.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, says: “While the Easter break helped the high street, the sunshine proved to be something of a distraction to the online channel, which saw sales slow, with just over 16% of non-food items bought online. While this is a fall on previous months’ levels, it is an expected blip and reminds us that when the sun shines and people are on holiday, they are still attracted by the theatre of the store. Now the Easter bank holiday season has passed, I expect online sales to continue unabated.”
In April, non-food online sales recorded their lowest growth year to date at 11.2%. The slowdown is an expected effect of the Easter break, as people tend to go to the stores for home and family shopping. Despite this, growth remained robust, not far below the 12-month average of 12.7%.
As a result of the Easter effect, the proportion of online sales as a percentage of total non-food sales was 16.1%, the lowest recorded since last April. The contribution of online to non-food sales was 0.5 percentage point, the lowest since March 2013.
According to a new report by Qubit, the average value of each online order in London is £268 compared to just over £100 for internet shoppers around the rest of the country, while the conversion rate is lower, at 2.0% in London compared to 2.3% elsewhere.