Just over £1 in every £10 spent in a UK retail transaction in February was spent online, according to the latest official retail sales figures.
The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Retail Sales Bulletin for February 2012, published today, found that 10.7% of all UK retail sales were made over the internet – or £1.07 in every £10. The bulletin put the weekly average spent online at £573.6m, up from the £432.6m estimated for February 2011, when that was equivalent to 8.3% of all retail sales.
Growth in online sales outstripped that shown for total UK retail sales, which rose in value by 3.2% compared to February 2011, but just a 1% rise in volume since last year. Total retail sales fell by 0.4% in value and 0.8% in volume in February 2012, compared to the previous month, January 2012.
Commenting on the figures, Adam Stewart, managing director of Play.com, now owned by Rakuten, said: “With more than one in ten retail sales in February 2012 being made online, it is clear that consumers are increasingly turning to e-commerce over traditional channels. We believe that one of the key drivers in this phenomenon is the huge growth in adoption of smartphone and tablet devices in recent years.
“In fact, in our own business, we have seen a year-on-year increase of over 100%, since 2010, in the number of sales made via mobile and tablet devices. With the recent launch of the new iPad enhancing appetite for tablets, along with thousands of consumers accessing the internet via their smartphone every day, it is clear that these channels have become a new and popular way for consumers to shop.
“The latest data also reports a fall in high street sales, but it is a somewhat short-sighted view to suggest we are witnessing the decline of bricks and mortar stores in the face of online competition. E-commerce can be used to complement and encourage offline sales as well as loyalty.
“Rather than facing a simple ‘death of the high street’ scenario, retailers are in fact in a process of acclimatising to a new connected retail environment. The key for retailers is to combine the flexibility and convenience that online, mobile and social channels deliver, with the customer service and tangibility of the physical shopping experience. By bringing together these elements, retailers will make their offerings and service more compelling to their customers. This in turn will lead to increased revenue and improved brand value for the businesses themselves.”
The growing proportion of sales that take place over the internet has been illustrated in this infographic put together by Tableau Software.