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ONS figures show strong growth in online shopping

25 April 2018 - 11:46 by Graham Miller

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The Office for National Statistics has just released its report into the state of the retail market over the course of March this year, with analysts estimating that there was a 13.3 per cent rise in sales made via safe shopping online during this period.

Internet Retailing reports that the weather was blamed not only for a dip in visits to high street stores, but also for a 7.4 per cent decline in the amount of petrol which was purchased by British consumers. This shows that the climate can have a much bigger impact on bricks and mortar retail than on e-commerce activities.

Last month an estimated 17.4 per cent of sales across the UK were carried out through sites offering safe shopping online. This is up from 15.9 per cent back in March of 2017, which suggests that the market is still increasing its hold over the retail market, even if this is a relatively slow process.

Study spokesperson, Rhian Murphy, said that sales were down across the sector as a whole over the first three months of the year. He also pointed out that while the snow and ice had kept people away from the high street, they had helped to boost online shopping rates and help retailers make up for lost sales through their e-commerce sites.

Murphy added that March saw a spike in gift buying as consumers prepared for events such as Mother’s Day and of course Easter. Being able to shop for presents and related products from the comfort of home, rather than braving the bad weather, meant that people were not excluded from making purchases as they might have been in the pre-internet age.

The ONS figures usually portray online shopping as being less dominant than those published by other organisations, like IMRG. But even in tricky economic times it agrees that e-commerce is still enjoying growth.