BRC/KPMG: Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 8.0% in February YoY

  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 8.0% in February versus a year earlier, when they had increased by 10.7%. This is above the 3-month average of 7.7% and the 12-month average of 9.3%. This is the second month in a row the 12-month average has sat below double-digit figures.
  • Over the 3 months to February, Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 7.7% year-on-year, the lowest 3-month average since our monitor began. Over the same period, Total Non-Food sales in the UK fell by 0.2%, the first decline since November 2011.
  • In February 2017, Online sales represented 22.2% of total Non-Food sales in the UK, against 21.0% in February 2016. On a 3-month basis, penetration rate was 23.2%.
  • Over the 3 months to February, Online sales contributed 2.3 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 February, Online sales contributed 1.8 percentage points to Non-Food growth.
  • Over the 3 months to February, In-Store sales fell, posting declines of 2.4% on a total basis and 2.6% on a like-for-like basis. For the month of February, In-Store sales showed a decline.


“A fairly stable rate of online growth has again helped compensate for declines in stores. The online market has now grown to over 20 per cent of total non-food sales, and as a result growth of 8.0 per cent is understandable if not as impressive in previous years and helps explain the lowest 3-month average rate of year-on-year growth since May 2013.“Digital platforms remain the preference for a savvy shopper to search for the items they want at the best price, and helps explain why clothing and electronics have driven online growth when sales in stores have flagged. A later Mother’s Day this year has distorted the figures for February, since purchases which were made in the final week of February last year will now fall in March’s figures this year. We expect March’s growth to be stronger due to the impact of this distortion and of new video game releases.”


“Online retail sales in February provide further contrast to the poor performance noted on the high street. Non-food online sales are up 8% on last year and penetration rates remain stable at 22.2%.

“Interestingly, many of the categories that failed to capture the attention of shoppers in store, did so online – including clothing and footwear. Carefully placed promotions and the shorter wait until pay day in February are likely to have nudged online shoppers to e-checkouts.

“School half-term will also have contributed to online retailer’s stronger performance and notably children’s toys performed particularly well during the month.

“In the run up to the Budget, online retailers will be eager to learn if the Chancellor looks to support the retail sector. The business rate rise has been hotly contested, given the varying impact the proposed changes will have on retailers utilising physical or online retail channels.”


BRC Press Office
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Source: BRC