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Online shopping increases in October due to pre-Christmas preparations

13 November 2015 - 10:19 by Simon Crisp

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British consumers are getting ready for Christmas this year earlier than ever, with the latest BRC figures showing that 19.1 per cent of all sales made last month were generated by safe shopping online, according to Internet Retailing.

E-commerce sales were up by almost a tenth in October when compared with the same period last year, which may represent a lower annual growth rate but still shows that the consumer appetite for online shopping is continuing to expand.

BRC spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that the sales figures for October were a clear indication that people are buying products online to prepare for Christmas earlier than in any previous year. And people are shopping online to find bargains well before the festive season arrives, so that they can spread the cost over a longer period.

Interestingly, the report also notes that with Black Friday on the horizon, consumer spending tends to slow down, as people wait for flash sales to come into effect. So to counteract this, retailers are cutting prices well before November 27th this year, in a bid to stimulate spending, which is a strategy that appears to have worked.

The report records significant growth in the sales of fashion items and accessories as well as furniture in the e-commerce market, although analysts also found that other product categories fared less favourably, with beauty products suffering an especially pronounced slump in sales growth last month.

The UK’s entire retail market was down by 0.2 per cent on a like for like basis in October, meaning that e-commerce is still helping to prop up the industry as a whole. And with Christmas on the horizon, bargain hunters are heading online earlier than ever, to make one or two purchases.