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E-commerce sales growth shrinks

08 March 2017 - 09:44 by David Aiken

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Last month the UK’s retail market grew by just 0.4 per cent, propped up once again by the popularity of safe shopping online. However, BRC figures show that web-based shopping was also a victim of sluggish consumer spending, according to Internet Retailing.

Sales made online rose by eight per cent, which is a far cry from the double digit growth that has been seen in earlier periods. This could be a sign that the e-commerce market is maturing, or it could indicate that confidence in the economy is weakening, causing people to hold onto their cash for essential purchases.

The web accounted for a total of 22.2 per cent of sales across all outlets and product categories apart from food. This is slightly lower than the quarterly average, although in-store sales dropped by 2.4 per cent in February, showing that the high street is still struggling to maintain its dominance.

Report spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, singled out the success of safe shopping online as being the factor which is allowing British retail sales to grow, even if the rate of increase is low.

She said that people are turning to the internet in order to get the best possible deal on products of all types, whether they are fashion items or big ticket electronics.

March is expected to see a bump in sales, both as a result of Mother’s Day falling at a later point and due to the recent release of the new Nintendo Switch games console. So it seems that big events will continue to cause fluctuations in sales, creating peaks and troughs throughout the year.

Analysts believe that online retailers were particularly savvy with the timing of their offers in February, taking advantage of the fact that it is the shortest month in the year.