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ONS figures show growth in online sales last month

24 February 2016 - 10:46 by Graham Miller

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January was another good month for safe shopping online in the UK, with a 10.4 per cent rise in sales reported by the Office for National Statistics.

This means that the average weekly e-commerce spend generated by British consumers was almost £864 million, which represents 13 per cent of the entire retail market when purchases of fuel are taken out of the equation.

Online sales were also up by 2.7 per cent in January compared with December of 2015, meaning that even with the usual surge in shopping activity prior to Christmas, there was still significant room for growth last month.

Analysts believe that Black Friday is to blame for December’s less than stellar sales, suggesting that a lot of consumers are now buying gifts earlier than usual because of the unique offers that are available during this promotional event in November.

This is reflected by the fact that the ONS previously revealed that sales made via safe shopping online were up 40 per cent year on year during November of 2015, highlighting the impact that shifting trends are having on the marketplace.

The good news for retailers as a whole is that spending across all channels was up by 2.4 per cent last month, with consumer confidence remaining strong. And for items falling into categories including household goods, sales growth was even more significant.

A few areas saw less impressive gains, with clothing sales failing to take off to the same degree as other parts of the market. The mild weather in January is doubtlessly to blame for this particular trend, with seasonal shifts having a greater impact on products in this category than many others.

There are, of course, several organisations publishing figures relating to the UK’s retail market, with the ONS actually being a little more conservative in their estimation of online growth than IMRG.