Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 11.7% in January versus a year earlier, when it had risen by 19.2% over the previous year. This month’s growth is close to the 12-month average of 12.0%. In January 2015, online sales represented 18.4% of total Non-Food sales, against 16.8% in January 2014.

Online sales contributed 2.0 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales in January. The 3-month average contribution of online to Non-Food growth exceeded that of stores for the fifth consecutive month.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, says: "Online sales for January tend to be strong with people enjoying surfing for online bargains after the busy frenzy of Christmas shopping. With January online sales making up their largest proportion of overall retail sales only second to November the results show just how popular online sales were.

“As websites continue to improve, including ease of use on mobile devices, with more stock being listed online it is not a surprise that we loved buying online this January. We were particularly enthusiastic about buying shoes online as over £1 in every £3 of footwear purchases was spent online, perhaps because we could see immediately whether our size was still available in the sales. Retailers who have invested in an omni-channel strategy will certainly take comfort in these figures.”

David McCorquodale, head of Retail at KPMG, says: “Online sales had a strong January, bolstered by seasonal sales campaigns and targeted marketing drives. This side of retailers’ business has a leading role to play in driving overall sales growth, with more shoppers than ever choosing the convenience of buying online.

“In order to significantly move the dial substantial spend is needed to improve the robustness of retailers’ systems and improve the experience for customers.  Retailers’ online operations warrant the lion’s share of their investment budgets this year."

At 11.7%, Online growth in January was close to its 12-month average of 12.7%, despite being against a strong growth of 19.2% in the comparable period of January 2014.

The proportion of Online over UK Non-Food sales reached 18.4%, a strong increase of 1.6 percentage point over January 2014. Penetration rates tend to be high during months traditionally dominated by sales, like January, because Online gives a better shopping experience during clearance sales.

This January recorded the second highest penetration rate in the last twelve months, with November boasting the highest rate. This was also the pattern in the previous twelve months.

Homewares featured at the bottom of the growth rankings table in January, as it faced tough comparables from the previous year, and as a result also was the lowest contributor to growth of all categories. The penetration rate only improved modestly, as online sales didn’t grow a lot faster than stores sales. In contrast with December, House Textiles outperformed Home Accessories.

Furniture continued to display solid growth in January, despite being against a tough comparable. The penetration also improved modestly to 28.2% but failed to match the record 30% of January 2013.