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E-commerce sales up in spite of rocky times for retail industry

11 May 2018 - 09:44 by Simon Crisp

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Last month saw a modest but reassuring 6.7 per cent increase in the number of sales made via safe shopping online in the UK, according to the latest statistics from the British Retail Consortium.

Twenty two per cent of all sales across the entire market were taken up by e-commerce activity, while bricks and mortar outlets suffered a 3.1 per cent dip compared with April of 2017.

Study spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that it was not surprising to see that there was a downturn in consumer spending over the course of the past month, with several factors contributing to this state of affairs.

Aside from the general economic uncertainty and consumer cautiousness, April’s sales were hit due to Easter taking place earlier than usual, thus tipping the balance in favour of higher spending in March instead.

Dickinson admitted that even with such obstacles taken into account, it was clear that the overall trend for the retail market at the moment is one of shrinking sales and an ongoing shift towards shopping online.

Even the power of the web has not been enough to ensure ongoing double digit growth in e-commerce activity. Were it not for the current instability that the UK is facing, it might be assumed that the online market was simply hitting a plateau as it matures.

The warmer weather did do a little to help fashion retailers and footwear outlets increase their sales in April, but such seasonal changes are inconsistent in their impact and difficult to predict. 

Dickinson argued that retailers were doing more to ensure that they could continue to survive in the difficult market conditions they are facing at the moment, although she said that the next few years would remain rocky for the industry as a whole.