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Online Sales Rise While Consumer Caution Reigns

04 September 2019 - 15:23 by Mike Price

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Figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG show that August was another tricky month in the UK’s retail market, with more people buying products via safe shopping online as the general uncertainty gripping the country caused cautious spending across the board.

Analysts found that there was neither a year-on-year increase nor a decrease in sales last month, meaning that the market was at least able to tread water in spite of outside economic pressures.

Meanwhile, 29.5 per cent of all retail sales were made via safe shopping online, confirming that the popularity of e-commerce is still on the rise, even if growth levels are not as strong as they once were.

Report spokesperson Helen Dickinson admitted that the demand for products amongst consumers was being suffocated as a result of the unanswered questions around Brexit as well as the broader political and economic future of the UK as a whole.

Food sales did manage to rise in August, thanks to the hot temperatures, although this increase was counterbalanced by a downfall in attention paid to other types of products.

As expected, the rise in online shopping continued to cause problems for the high street, with bricks and mortar retailers seeing visitor numbers fall alongside sales figures.

Dickinson pointed out that physical outlets were having to offer heavy discounts to encourage consumers to spend, which meant that even if they did manage to boost sales, they were unlikely to make much profit due to the incredibly narrow margins involved.

Experts argue that the government needs to intervene in order to make it viable for high street chains to continue investing in improving their services, or else more and more store closures are likely and the exodus to the online ecosystem will continue at a pace.