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Modest Online Shopping Growth Reported in April

08 May 2019 - 13:24 by Graham Miller

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Last month was a generally positive period for the UK’s retail sector, with figures from the British Retail Consortium showing that the market grew by 3.7 per cent compared with the same period in 2018.

The number of sales secured via safe shopping online was also on the rise, with a growth rate of 4.3 per cent reported.

However, analysts are eager to point out that this apparent good news should be tempered by the fact that the late arrival of Easter gave April of 2019 an artificially inflated degree of retail growth which masks the underlying issues still facing the market at the moment.

Report spokesperson Helen Dickinson said that while the long bank holiday weekend did help to concentrate spending, consumers were also pulled away from high street stores and online outlets by the fine weather conditions. This meant that opportunities to capitalise on Easter from a retail perspective were tougher to grasp.

Dickinson did confirm that e-commerce now accounts for almost 30 per cent of the UK’s entire retail market, making it far more dominant than it has been at any point in the past. She also said that even in this context, the fact that online growth has fallen to low single figures suggests that even with ongoing investment from retailers, the digital market may be approaching something of a plateau.

Experts expect that companies will continue to splash out on the latest technologies in order to attract customers both in-store and online. This is in keeping with consumer expectations that the blending of digital and physical retail will be embraced more widely, allowing them to use smartphones at bricks-and-mortar locations more effectively or take advantage of click and collect to get speedy access to the products they order online.