Non-Food products online sales in UK up 6.6% in March 2017 vs 2016’s March, BRC – KPMG

London, 2017-Apr-12 — /EPR Retail News/ —


Covering the five weeks 26 February – 1 April 2017

  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 6.6% in March versus a year earlier, when they had increased by 9.5%. This is the lowest growth since August, below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 7.4% and 9.0% respectively but is negatively distorted by the timing of Easter.
  • Over the 3 months to March, Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 7.4% year-on-year, the lowest since May 2013. Over the same period, Total Non-Food sales in the UK fell by 0.8%, the second consecutive month of 3-month average decline
  • In March 2017, Online sales represented 22.0% of total Non-Food sales in the UK, against 20.9% in March 2016. On a 3-month basis, penetration rate was 22.3%.
  • Over the 3 months to March, Online sales contributed 1.7 percentage points to the year-on-year growth of Total Non-Food sales. In contrast, In-Store sales made a negative 3-month contribution of 2.5 percentage points. In March, Online sales contributed 1.2 percentage points to Non-Food growth
  • Over the 3 months to March, In-Store sales fell, posting declines of 3.0% on a total basis and 3.4% on a like-for-like basis. For the month of March, In-Store sales showed a decline, exaggerated by the timing of Easter.


“Online non-food sales growth in March was dampened by the later timing of Easter this year. Those products historically popular with shoppers over the long weekend, notably larger homeware items, took a hit but will feel the benefit during April instead. Health and beauty products on the other hand, achieved the strongest sales growth of all categories thanks to gift purchases for Mother’s Day, while gaming and electricals continue to be online bestsellers as customers are enticed with new product launches.

“Retailers continue to innovate and invest in their digital offers to attract customers amidst the intense competition. Mobile optimisation has been the focus for many and some are already reaping the benefits of higher conversion rates as customers enjoy speedier browsing activity. Meanwhile, for fashion retailers, new free delivery initiatives have successfully driven increased loyalty from those customers who sign up.”


“Online retail sales in March fared better than the high street, with non-food sales up 6.6 per cent in the month. That said, we haven’t seen growth this low since August last year and the timing of Easter is likely to have had an impact. Demand in UK retail is also showing signs of slowing down more broadly.

“Most categories did note growth in the month however, with health and beauty performing particularly well. It is likely Mother’s Day provided a helping hand, and with temperatures being milder than usual for the month, shoppers were also shrugging off the shackles of winter. Fashion sales also proved especially popular, with spring collections seemingly striking the right chord with shoppers.

“The later timing of Easter is likely to have contributed to the sluggish furniture and homeware sales in the month.  Interest in these categories will probably pick-up in the coming month, with the holiday providing an opportunity for home improvements.

“It remains to be seen if the slowdown in online sales is just a temporary blip or a more significant occurrence.”

BRC Press Office
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Source: BRC