Online sales of non-food products grew by 13.7% YoY in May, a penetration level of 21.2%, reports the BRC–KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor.

Furniture was the second worst performer in May, ahead of Footwear. However, online sales of furniture experienced growth, while in-store sales saw a decline. As a result, the proportion of furniture bought online increased by 3.1 percentage points from last May to 28.3%.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE says: “The pace of online sales in May gathered momentum with a respectable 13.7% growth on last year. Retailers saw positive growth in all categories while fashion sales throughout the month proved particularly popular with online shoppers.

“As contribution from stores was negative, online sales took more than their proportionate share of overall non-food growth. The online penetration rate reached the third highest ever recorded, after Black Friday in November and the January sales.

“Retailers are confidently using their online channels to drive overall growth of their omnichannel businesses. This is evidently where businesses need to direct investment to ensure they remain competitive and meet the demands of the increasingly digital savvy consumer.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, adds: “Penetration rates continued to climb, making May the fifth consecutive month above 20%. With a possible heatwave on the horizon, a strong multichannel business will be key to ensuring retailers can weather all weathers.”