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Olympic action dents online sales

07 September 2016 - 11:56 by Simon Crisp

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Analysts are blaming the sluggish growth in shopping online during August on the distraction provided by the Olympics held in Rio.

The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG show that last month’s internet sales were up by 6.2 per cent year on year, reflecting a trend for sluggish performance in the late summer.

Overall, the e-commerce sector accounts for a fifth of all non-food sales nationwide, with this share of the market likely to increase further, as high street sales were down by 1.7 per cent in August.

On average, the rise of safe shopping online has held at 11.2 per cent for the past 12 months, suggesting that the mild slump in August is a one-off rather than a sign of an emerging trend.

Report spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that a combination of the Olympic Games and the fine weather conditions meant people were more interested in spending their time in front of the TV or out and about indulging in leisure activities, rather than heading to their favourite e-commerce sites.

Furthermore, the height of the UK’s holiday season means that more people are spending money on travel and accommodation than on purchasing specific products from the web.

Dickinson explained that e-commerce was helping to prop up growth in the retail market as a whole and was proof that even with the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, it was still possible for retailers to expand their digital impact and win over more customers.

The one category which was helped by a sport-focused summer was health and beauty, with people investing in sun block to keep their skin safe, while playing outdoors or heading overseas to places where the heat is a little more intense than is usually experienced in the UK.