Grocers, department stores and clothing shops all saw record shares of their business take place online in May, according to the latest official retail figures.
Grocers saw 5.8% of retail sales take place online during the month, following year-on-year (YOY)sales growth of 20.7%, while 17.4% of department store sales were online (+36% YOY) and 17.6% of clothing sales (+24% YOY). These were all category records, according to the Office for National Statistics in its latest Retail Sales report, for May 2018. Clothing, said the ONS, had moved online much faster over the last 14 months. In March 2017, 14.7% of clothing sales were online, contrasting with 17.6% in May 2018.
The ONS said in the report, “The proportion of online spending within food stores has remained relatively flat, with a slight and steady increase from 3.9% in 2013 to its current high of 5.8% in May 2018. The proportion of online spending within department and clothing stores shows a more volatile series but with a similar trend of steady growth throughout 2013 to May 2017.”
Overall, online sales grew by 19.9%, year-on-year, with 18% of all retail sales taking place online. Online sales at household goods stores grew by 12.8% to account for 11.6% of sales in the category.
The move came alongside sales growth across retail, helped by the Royal Wedding and by warm weather. Shoppers spent 6.3% more money than at the same time last year, buying 3.9% more goods, and 1.6% more than last month, buying 1.3% more goods in than in April.
The ONS said: “Feedback from retailers suggests that a change to sustained warm weather following the adverse weather seen earlier in the year has seen increases in consumer spending in the current month. The Met Office also reported above average temperatures, stating that May was ‘provisionally the equal second-warmest May in a series from 1910.’” It added: “This shift to warmer weather may have encouraged consumers to spend later in the year.”