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Report reveals scale of online shopping festive impact

19 January 2018 - 09:24 by David Aiken

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The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium have shown that safe shopping online is quickly eating into the dominance of bricks and mortar retail in the run-up to Christmas.

Last year 24.1 per cent of sales were made online, a rise of two percentage points compared with the same period in 2016, according to Internet Retailing.

In December there was a 7.6 per cent increase in safe shopping online, showing that solid growth is still present here in spite of the less impressive 1.4 per cent rise across the industry as a whole.

On the high street the picture is less promising, with a 3.7 per cent dip in activity recorded. Experts expect this trend to continue as more people pick e-commerce experiences over visits to real world outlets.

Report spokesperson, Paul Martin, said that the rush to buy presents before the festive period gets underway is helping to catalyse online sales in December, even as bricks and mortar retailers are feeling the pinch during what is usually a peak period of shopping activity.

He also argued that consumer confidence was shaken last year as a result of a number of uncertainties across the economic and political landscape, both in the UK and globally. This will likely result in growth stagnating over the course of 2018, unless significant improvements occur.

These stats focus on non-food sales, while the pre-Christmas period was far healthier for retailers selling food products thanks to a 4.2 per cent sales growth. This comes in spite of the fact that inflation has hit consumers hard and left many products at much higher price points than they were 12 months earlier.

Analysts found that the week before Christmas last year was an especially busy time both online and on the high street, with sales rising 15 per cent and delivery services working overtime to cope.