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Figures show that festive shopping season has already begun

09 November 2016 - 13:40 by Graham Miller

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The latest report from the British Retail Consortium suggests that consumers in the UK are taking advantage of safe shopping online and buying Christmas gifts earlier than usual this year, according to Internet Retailing.

E-commerce sales were up by 11.1 per cent last month, indicating that growth of the market is actually up slightly on the same period in 2015. Furthermore, online sales made up 22.2 per cent of the entire retail market during October.

While the web continued to increase its influence and power, the high street underwent another period of decline, with sales from bricks and mortar outlets slipping by 1.3 per cent, year on year.

Report spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that the rise of safe shopping online was helping to catalyse the Christmas shopping season and allow it to fall earlier in the year than used to be the case. She pointed out that October saw especially strong growth in the sale of health and beauty products, with people snapping up gift sets of such items to give to friends and family while avoiding the crush on the high street.

Dickinson explained that consumers are flocking to the web to make purchases because it is more convenient than hitting the high street, while also offering more choice and competitive prices. Because of this, growth is expected to continue, even in the face of the economic instability perpetuated by Brexit.

The promotions offered by retailers last month were also highlighted as having had an impact on online sales, with various sites convincing customers to start buying gifts sooner rather than later through the use of hefty discounts. This trend is set to continue over the course of November, with both Black Friday and Cyber Monday still to touch down.