Online sales growing at fastest rate in three years as high street suffers

Web sales growth in December accelerated to 19.2%, the fastest rate for more than three years

More Britons than ever did their Christmas shopping online this year with almost one in five non-food purchases made over the internet.

Web sales growth in December accelerated to 19.2%, the fastest rate for more than three years, while overall UK retail sales grew by just 0.4% on a like-for-like basis.

The data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey carried out by KPMG showed online trade represented 18.6% of total non-food sales in December, up from 16.5% the year before.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "More of us clicked into Christmas than ever before, with online non-food sales growth putting in its best performance since March 2010 and accounting for nearly 20% of spending.

"The surge in the use of tablets and smartphones last year, together with the ever-faster delivery times achieved by an increasing number of retailers, has provided a new spur of growth to online shopping."

The news follows a string of poor Christmas trading figures from high street stalwarts such as Debenhams, M&S, Tesco and Morrisons.

Across the wider non-food sector, like-for-like sales in the last quarter were up 1.5% while a decline in food revenues accelerated to 0.6% indicating the pressure on beleaguered major supermarkets as squeezed shoppers turned to their discounter rivals.

Ms Dickinson said the retail figures came in the context of a year of "encouraging but fragile recovery", adding: "This is a respectable result overall. While confidence levels were higher than the previous year, this wasn't always matched by more money in pockets."

David McCorquodale, KPMG head of retail, said: "Whilst store sales continue to flatline, online sales remain the main driver of growth for the sector, contributing nearly three quarters of the uptick in non-food sales in the last quarter of 2013.

"The winners this Christmas were those retailers with slick multichannel operations, who could offer consumers the flexibility to shop how, and when, they wanted to."

In clothing, online sales represented 21.2% of sales in December, up from 18% in 2012, while furniture and flooring products bought on the internet represented nearly a third of all sales, at 32.4% - though this was down a little on 32.6% last year.

The figure for electrical goods and toys was 14.4%, up from last year's 11.9% but a fall on the 15.5% who shopped online for these goods in November.

This was attributed to consumers searching early on the web for in-demand Christmas products such as video game consoles to try to get hold of them before they went out of stock.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas