Online sales rose by eight percent in July 2013 compared with the same period last year, as UK retailers continue to see benefits from shoppers who are willing to buy online.
Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and consultancy firm KPMG found that online sales rose by 7.9 percent compared with the same period in 2012. This helped boost overall growth in summer 2013 by 3.9 percent, almost double the two percent growth witnessed last year.
However, this was lower than the 15.6 percent rise seen in 2012, and down on the 14 percent rise that took place in June 2013.
The BRC director general, Helen Dickinson, said while the July increase was still strong, the hot weather meant people were not sitting at computers and shopping online, but instead outside in the sun.
“This is still a good level of growth for online sales, but it is a little below trend and not quite as stellar as we saw last month. We may well have seen people taking advantage of the good weather to spend time outside, rather than staying in to shop online," she said.
This meant, though, that tablets and smartphone use became more prominent, with people happy to shop on the go. Two sectors that benefited from this were fashion and beauty products, the BRC said, with sales of the latter rising 30 percent.
Dickinson said: "Many of the same categories performed well online as they did offline. Clothing and footwear posted good results and health and beauty products grew strongly, albeit from a low base."
The figures from the BRC and KPMG show that businesses are fully embracing the benefits of having an established web presence and marketplace, in order to profit from customers willing to shop online.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, told V3 that the numbers proved the trend for online sales continues to be strong. He said firms moving to the web needed to be aware of the challenges it posed, though.
“There are two things firms need to focus on: fulfilment, so they are able to deliver orders, and personalisation, so they can get to know a customers habits. However, this comes at a cost as you need new systems for sock management and ordering if you want to become a multi-channel retailer,” he said.
The onus on firms to embrace online sales is online set to continue as services such as 4G make it even easier for consumers to shop out and about.
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