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Online sales growth continues as omnichannel thinking takes over

13 May 2016 - 14:21 by Simon Crisp

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Consumers spent 6.6 per cent more online last month than they did in April of 2015, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium. Analysts have also started to claim that shoppers in the UK no longer distinguish between the retail channels they use, but are blurring the distinctions between e-commerce and in-store activities.

In the past three months, just over a fifth of all non-food sales nationwide have been made online, helping the market as a whole to grow by 2.1 per cent at a time when the high street is continuing to struggle.

BRC spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that growth was being catalysed by e-commerce successes, while also pointing out that there is still an opportunity for firms to make sure that their bricks and mortar stores are supporting rather than competing with their websites.

This mutually beneficial relationship between safe shopping online and in-store experiences is something that experts believe should be cultivated by retailers, as more consumers express agnosticism over the channels they choose to use.

Dickinson said that it was clear that the online marketplace was reaching a state of maturity, with slower growth levels seen month on month.

Analysts were also willing to blame other factors for slower than usual sales activity in recent weeks, with colder weather in the spring causing people to spend less and stay indoors more than would normally be the case.

The recent rise in temperatures is sure to spur on more spending, which is why experts believe that retailers need to act sooner rather than later to switch up their ranges and optimise their e-commerce sites. It is anticipated that the summer spending period is likely to be stronger than usual after the slump in the past quarter.