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Online sales grew by 16% in November as Christmas shoppers started early

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Online sales grew strongly in November as Christmas shoppers made an early start, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor for November 2013 found non-food online sales grew by 16% during the month, taking three-month average growth to 13.8%. That gave a boost to total UK retail sales, which grew by 2.8% during the month, with like-for-like sales up by 0.6%.

“The signs are that many of us went online during the month to make an early start on our present shopping, and the Cyber Monday effect is likely to continue that trend into December,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium .

One in every £5 spent on buying non-food goods was spent online during the month.

Overall, online contributed 2% to total sales growth during the month. Over the last three months online averaged a contribution of 1.6% a month and stores 1.2%, taking total sales growth for the last three months to 2.8%.

Dickinson said: “Faster delivery times and the growing popularity of Click & Collect means customers are ready to leave ordering online closer to Christmas with the confidence that their goods will still arrive on time.

“Nonetheless, these figures highlight that while online may have come of age last Christmas, this year it’s cementing its position as a popular choice at all stages of the customer journey.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG , said: “Retailers’ digital channels have proved to be a major pillar of their sales strategy this year, with one in five products bought online this Christmas. It is a sobering thought that without the online transactions buoying them up, other non-food sales would have actually fallen on the previous year’s levels.

“Online sales will continue to soar in the run up to Christmas, reaching record heights in December, with transactions spiking on Mega Monday when the last day for guaranteed delivery before Christmas falls due.

“With multichannel retailing now firmly established, what lies ahead for the retailer is considerable investment in digital analytics and logistics to improve personalisation and meet the increasing demands of the consumer.”

Clothing sales were particularly strong during the month, and 24.6% of all sales in the category were made online, up from 21.7% at the same time last year. Some 29.3% of footwear sales were made online, up from 17.1% last time, and in the furniture and flooring category, 32.1% of sales were made online (31.9%).

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