Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 8.2 per cent in September versus a year earlier, according to the BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor.
Online sales represented 17.5 per cent of total non-food sales during the month, against 16.2 per cent in September 2013 – the highest penetration rate since February.
Nevertheless, BRC-KPMG said the growth had been the lowest since July 2013, with clothing and footwear reporting a record low performance since the monitor began in December 2012.
Online sales contributed 1.4 percentage points to the growth of non-food total sales in September. The three-month average contribution of online to growth exceeded that of stores for the first time outside the Christmas period.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Online sales continued to represent an increased proportion of UK non-food sales, at 17.5 per cent, up 1.3 percentage point from last year. For the first time, the growth of total UK non-food sales over the last three months has owed more to the online purchases than in store buying. This promises another record Christmas to come for online sales.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “The warm weather also melted sales of clothing and footwear online as shoppers chose to dig out their summer wardrobe rather than investing in new winter woollies. As the weather cools and people start planning for Christmas this trend should quickly reverse.
“We have seen heavy investment from retailers in their online systems this month as many have spent the summer testing and refining their online operations ready for the all-important run up to Christmas. As the orders begin rolling in, these investments will quickly pay dividends.”