Online non-food sales heading for 20pc of market

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Almost one in five non-food products are now bought online either for home delivery or click and collect, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

The BRC/KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for September found that online sales of non-food products was up 13.4 per cent on last year.

As a result, online sales reached their highest penetration rate for the year in September at 17.5 per cent of total non-food sales.

Excluding online sales, clothing and footwear would have shown a decline in September.

This is the first time the BRC and KPMG have publishing detailed online sales data from the monthly monitor, and the plan is to include it every month from now on.

“This is a fascinating month to analyse online data for the first time, because it shows that one third of non-food sales growth comes from online purchases, and that without the growth we have seen in online sales, we would actually have recorded declines in sales of clothing and footwear this month,” said. Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium.

“The online penetration rate, or share of the market, reached a record level in September. This highlights the growing importance of understanding online sales and the need for the BRC-KPMG Online RSM’s robust new data.”

However, the survey found that online sales growth in September was lower than August which was a record. All categories contributed to growth but over half came from the Other Non-Food category.

Online sales contributed 1.3 percentage points to the growth of non-food total sales last month. In the last three months, the contribution averaged 1.1 percentage points – a third of the total non-food retail growth.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, highlighted the fact that retailers have invested significantly to ensure their omni-channel processes can meet consumer demand. “This is reflected in the penetration levels, which have now reached their highest level seen so far this year.”

“Online sales continued to soar in September and achieved another month of double digit growth. Electricals and back to college items helped to drive growth, but unseasonably warm weather also prompted consumers to browse online for the lighter-weight pieces of clothing, checking the latest trends of the season and making full use of the ever-increasing click-and-collect options. This demonstrates the vital role online can play for retailers during the transition between seasons.”

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