Online sales in October saw their best growth since July with an 11.1% increase on last year – pushing just ahead of the 12- month average of 10.8%, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) – KPMG.
BRC-KPMG’s said the result of its retail online sales monitor, which covers the four weeks from October 2 to October 29, was largely driven by new product launches in consumer electronics ‘for which online proved to be the shopping channel of choice’.
Over the three months to October, in-store sales fell, posting declines of 1.3% on a total basis and 1.5% on a like-for-like basis. But for the month of October, in-store sales posted growth.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson commented: “There are signs that the Christmas trading season is well under way, notably for the health and beauty category, which received a boost from online sales of gift sets, making it October’s top performer.
“Online continues to account for a large proportion of non-food sales with over £1 in £5 being spent online. However, stores also made a positive contribution – the best since January.
“The choice and convenience provided to shoppers by digital channels have intensified competition over the years and will continue to do so. While retailers have succeeded to date in protecting customers from rising costs, online channels continue to become increasingly valuable as a source of information to the price-sensitive customer, against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.”
KPMG head of retail Paul Martin added: “October appeared to be an online shopping bonanza. Digital baskets were brimming with health and beauty products, with the category being the best performer of the month – no doubt boosted by carefully placed promotions.
“With Black Friday nearing, November will mark one of the busiest online shopping periods of the year. Retailers will need to ensure they are poised to hit the ground running as shoppers log-in to snap a bargain.”