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E-commerce sales growth shrinks

09 November 2017 - 12:13 by Sarah Collinson

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The monthly increase in purchases made via safe shopping online has hit a five year low, according to the latest stats published by the British Retail Consortium.

Internet Retailing reports that in October there was a four per cent uptick in sales, which is much lower than the average increase of 8.3 per cent seen over the past year.

It is worth noting that this record-breaking slump in safe shopping online is based on figures recorded since 2012, when the BRC first began collecting data of this kind. But there are some positive things to take away from the study, including the fact that web-based sales made up 23.7 per cent of the entire UK retail market last month.

Overall, there was a one per cent decline in retail activity over the course of October, reflecting a level of economic uncertainty among consumers.

BRC spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that retailers may be concerned about how well they will perform as Christmas approaches given the underwhelming online sales growth recorded in October.

She said that one of the causes of this state of affairs was the fact that families chose to spend more money on activities and holidays over the half term, rather than on products from retail outlets.

Bricks and mortar sales fell by 2.2 per cent over the same period; slightly higher than the 2.1 per cent monthly fall that has been apparent in the last year. Food sales are up, but Dickinson indicates that higher spending is being caused by inflation as the price of many household essentials is on the rise.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday set to fall later this month, November’s online sales growth should be stronger. But analysts seem to be suggesting that this may only be a temporary reprieve from a broader trend of consumer caution.