April saw retailers growing their online non-food sales by 6.6%, which is the slowest growth since April 2013 according to the latest figures from British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG.
Their online retail sales monitor covers the four weeks from 3 April to April 30. However, during the period, online remained a significant proportion of total non-food retail sales at 20.9%; only fractionally down on the highest on record.
The monitor also shows that online has been the driving force behind sales growth in the three months to April. Digital sales contributed just over 2% to total non-food sales growth while store based transactions fell by -1.3%.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “As shopping online continues to become a staple of the retail experience, it’s little surprise that the growth in the value of digital sales continues to taper off year-on-year.
“With consumers no longer thinking in channels, physical stores can continue to contribute to the success of a retailer’s online offer and vice versa.
“It’s therefore critical for retailers to finesse their offer from clicks to bricks and for policy makers to ensure regulations for consumer protection.”
KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale commented: “Despite a further slowdown in online sales during April, penetration rates remained high as cleverly timed discounting and promotional activity proved online players were no ‘April fools’.
“With unseasonably cold weather delaying the sales of spring ranges in the month, consumers chose to spruce up well-worn winter warmers with jewellery and accessories from the comfort of the living room rather than hitting the high-street for new outfits. Health and beauty also fared well as retailers extended online ranges and promotions.
“Looking ahead, retailers may well need to bolster online offerings as warmer temperatures start to tempt consumers back into the shops.”