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January sees slowdown in growth of e-commerce activity

08 February 2017 - 10:33 by Simon Crisp

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While December is always a strong month for shopping online thanks to the catalyst of the Christmas break, the latest figures from BRC and KPMG show that sales growth was reduced significantly in January of 2017.

Last month there was an eight per cent rise in web sales, which is much lower than the 14.9 per cent increase that was enjoyed during the same period in 2016. Analysts also pointed out that this dipped below the typical month on month increases that have been experienced over the past year.

E-commerce accounted for 22.9 per cent of all retail sales in January, which does show that safe shopping online has continued to gradually increase its grip on the market as a whole. Meanwhile, bricks and mortar sales dropped by 2.2 per cent indicating that the high street is continuing to struggle.

Report spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that while the online sales growth was lower than expected, there is still plenty of momentum in the e-commerce marketplace which is likely to be maintained over the coming months.

She also said that real world stores were being hit by the decline in sales harder than their online counterparts, even with the rollout of widespread sales designed to stimulate shopping.

This issue may actually be compounded by the fact that when sales draw to a close, people are less compelled to pick up items offered at full price, Dickinson explained.

The cold weather in January did not help the plight of the high street, driving people to shop online rather than venture outside. This sedentary lifestyle choice is further evidenced by the rise in furniture sales, with people buying new items to make staying indoors more comfortable and convenient, which should further fuel e-commerce activity.