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Stats help explain why e-commerce growth is still so strong

24 September 2018 - 09:58 by Sarah Collinson

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The latest report from the Office for National Statistics has shed some light on the reasons that sales made via safe shopping online are increasing so rapidly while the high street struggles.

Analysts suggest that rather than the web stealing shoppers from bricks and mortar outlets, growth is being seen in both areas, with only a handful of high profile chains actually suffering serious issues and falling on hard times.

Last year 82 per cent of the cash spent by consumers in the retail sector was channelled through real world outlets, while in the e-commerce market it was the online-only outlets that saw real success, rather than their multichannel counterparts.

This suggests that the high street is not losing out as the web grows, but rather that those retailers which operate physical outlets as well as websites are not managing to keep pace with firms like Amazon and eBay that only operate online.

ONS stats show that over the past decade the only category of the retail market in which spending dropped was household goods, which contradicts some of the doom and gloom that has dominated the headlines in recent months.

While this study highlights some interesting and often overlooked trends, analysts also believe that safe shopping online is gradually having an impact on where cash is being spent, especially when a long term overview is taken.

Arguing that pure-play shopping sites are leading the way for spending and growth is not a new concept, but it is one which deserves to be re-examined and reinforced. It is also important to note that the high street is perhaps in a better state than might be expected, especially since the problems faced by the likes of House of Fraser and Toys R Us will have given a different impression in 2018.