There’s some pretty bad news for high street retailers — online shopping just hit record levels.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), the body that measures UK retail sales, just put out its sales figures for the month of November.
Even with Black Friday — the now infamous shopping day where retailers cut prices on all sorts of items — sales actually fell in November, dropping 0.4% on a like-for-like basis.
What’s more worrying for retailers though is the amount of shopping now being carried out online.
Figures from the BRC released on Tuesday show that online shopping now accounts for a record proportion of all UK retail sales. In total, 22.4% of all non-food sales are online, up from 19.1% in October this year, and 20.3% in November 2014.
Shop retailers will undoubtedly be pretty worried that market share is being taken away by internet sales David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG, which helps compile the data points to the way that Black Friday sales were more focused online in 2015.
He said “While Black Friday ended up being more of an online affair, the focus over the next few weeks is to promote the theatre of the store for Christmas in the hopes that the tills will be ringing all the way into the New Year.”
Black Friday in 2014 was a retailer-based affair, with scenes of people fighting over cheap TVs in Asda stores making the headlines for weeks after the event, but this year things were a little more subdued, and more people took to the internet to grab their bargains.
Another nugget to pick out from the BRC’s data is just how much distortion of retail figures the rise of Black Friday has created. Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive said “Black Friday had an undoubtedly significant impact for the non-food categories, disturbing the build-up to Christmas: traditionally, sales in the last week of November were 25 per cent larger than in the first week of the month.
“Last year already, those sales were inflated by the popularity of Black Friday deals and this year, they were 50 per cent larger than in the first week of November.”
Other key figures to take from the BRC’s latest report include:
- Retails sales up by 0.7% on a total basis, compared to a total rise of 2.2% over the same period in 2014.
- The previous three month total growth average was 2%, while average 12-month sales growth stood at 1.7%
- Food sales up 0.1% for the three months to November; up 0.3% for the year-to-date.
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