Slower growth for e-commerce sales reported
10 October 2018 - 13:49 by Graham Miller
The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium show that there was a 5.4 per cent uptick in sales made from shopping online over the course of September.
This indicates that the e-commerce market is still seeing a steady increase in consumer activity, even if the growth rate is much lower than the 10.7 per cent recorded during the same month in 2017.
Analysts argue that this muted growth rate has a lot to do with consumers tightening their belts after the summer, or at least being fatigued by the higher outlay commonly seen during the warmer months.
Even with this potentially gloomy news, the proportion of all retail sales which are handled via safe shopping online now sits at 24.2 per cent, meaning that the digital sector is still continuing to gather momentum and put the high street under pressure.
E-commerce even managed to counteract the very slight fall in bricks and mortar sales, meaning that there was a 0.7 per cent growth overall in September.
There is no doubt that the market is looking a little sedate at the moment, but with Christmas on the way, there will undoubtedly be an increase in sales during the final quarter of 2018.
Report spokesperson Helen Dickinson said that September proved to be another tricky month for retailers, following on from an August which was similarly hard going.
She also suggested that part of the problem at the moment is that retailers bear the brunt of a disproportionate amount of tax compared with other industries, which could be the cause of the growing number of empty stores on the high street.
Whether the government will need to step in to address this and rekindle retail sales remains to be seen, but some form of intervention could be inevitable after Brexit next year.