Online non-food sales hit all-time high

Online sales of non-food products grew by 10.9 per cent in November, compared with the previous, new figures have shown.

Electronics contributed the most growth during the month due to the Black Friday sales, and this is the third consecutive month that growth has sat above 10 per cent, according to the BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor.

November’s growth was also above the three-month average of 10.7 per cent and slightly ahead of the 12-month average of 10.8 per cent.

Online sales represented 27.6 per cent of total non-food sales in the UK, compared with 25.3 per cent in November 2015. This makes it the highest non-food penetration rate on record, said the British Retail Consortium.

In the three months to November, online sales of non-food products grew by 10.7 per cent year-on-year, with total non-food sales increasing 1.7 per cent over the same period.

However over the same period, in-store sales declined by 0.8 per cent on a total basis and 1.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis. In-store sales also showed a decline for the month of November.

Helen Dickinson (pictured), BRC chief executive, said: “November was the third consecutive month of double-digit growth for online sales. The Black Friday sales period had managed to secure significant growth last year, making November a tough comparison. So this month’s figure of 10.9 per cent, slightly ahead of the long-term trend of 10.8 per cent, is positive.

“With discounts on electricals being the key feature of Black Friday sales, it is unsurprising that the other non-food category, in which consumer electronics sit, contributed the most to growth in November. It was the beauty and toy categories, which topped the growth rankings, as customers took advantage of the pre-Christmas discounts for gift purchases.

“With more than one in four pounds spent online, this was a record high for online non-food sales. Facilitated by the convenience of buying online, heavy sales periods, such as November, encourage an increasingly value-driven customer to shop around for price comparisons to fulfil their Christmas shopping list.”

Overall, UK retail sales (across all channels) increased by 0.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis from November 2015, compared with a 0.4 per cent decline from November 2014.

On a total basis, sales rose by 1.3 per cent, compared with a 0.7 per cent increase in November 2015.

In the three months to November, non-food retail sales increased by 1.5 per cent like-for-like and 1.7 per cent on a total basis.

Ms Dickinson added: “November saw total sales up 1.3 per cent over the previous year, with Food the biggest contributor to growth. While the figure isn’t spectacular, it’s a pretty solid performance in what has been a challenging year for sales in the UK.

“November plays host to Black Friday, which over the past few years has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year. This year’s event was expected to be the biggest yet, and our figures confirm that the week including Black Friday saw non-food sales up around 40 per cent compared with the other weeks of the month. However, compared to last year there was more of a shift of spending from earlier in the month, with sales down on last year in the weeks prior to November 25.”