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UK consumers continue to boost e-commerce sales

24 October 2016 - 11:23 by Graham Miller

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Last month saw a 16 per cent increase in the amount of retail activity generated by safe shopping online, according to stats published by IMRG. Analysts also pointed out that the quarterly boost to e-commerce sales has been at its highest level for two years, suggesting that the true impact of the EU referendum result has yet to be felt.

Report spokesperson, Justin Opie, said that part of the reason for the spike in growth was that the fall in the value of the pound had encouraged more shoppers from overseas to make purchases with British retailers. Along with other analysts, he warns that although things look positive for the time being, consumer confidence is likely to take a hit once Article 50 is triggered by the government next year.

Some areas of the market grew faster than others, with home and garden retailers enjoying a 21 per cent bump in sales year on year. Meanwhile, a slightly less impressive increase of 15 per cent was experienced by fashion and clothing outlets, indicating that the longer lasting summer weather was putting people off investing in the autumnal lines being introduced in September.

In terms of grocery sales, more people were ordering their shopping from the web than ever before last month, with retailers continuing to battle it out to offer the lowest possible prices on popular products and brands.

It will be interesting to see how the market is impacted this month in the wake of the conflict between Tesco and supplier Unilever. Consumers are particularly sensitive to pricing in the context of grocery shopping, so if the value of the pound continues to cause problems at this level then the growth that has been seen in the third quarter may be reversed.