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Online shoppers spent 14% more in June: ONS

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Online shoppers spent £944.3m on UK retail websites in June, 14.1% more than they did a year earlier, official figures suggest today.

Ecommerce accounted for 14.2% of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel. That’s up from 12.6% in June 2015.

Overall UK retail sales rose by 4.3% in volume, and by 1.5% in value, compared to the previous year. But sales were down by 0.9% in value and in volume compared to the previous month of May.

Online, household goods stores saw strong growth, with internet sales growing by 41.1% to account for 9.4% of total retail sales. Department stores followed, with ecommerce sales up by 19.7% and accounting for 12.8% of all retail sales. Textile, clothing and footwear sales fell by 2.2% to account for 13.8% of retail sales. Online shoppers bought more groceries online: food sales grew by 13% to account for 4.7% of retail sales in the sector.

Melanie Richard, ONS head of retail sales, said: “All types of stores showed growth in June with the exception of clothing and footwear which struggled again due to the changeable weather. But department stores continued to see strong sales compared with last June – boosted by events such as Father’s Day, the EURO 2016 football and the Queen’s official birthday”

Keith Richardson, managing director retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said it was too early to see the effect of the Brexit vote in this month’s figures. “Instead,” he added, “the focus will now be on next month’s figures to see what effect – if any – the vote has had on consumer confidence and spending across a full month.”

Sue Rissbrook, PwC partner, spoke for the business advisor’s retail and consumer team when she said the EU referendum had affected consumer confidence – but that the fast appointment of a new Prime Minister should have a positive impact.

“In the immediate aftermath of the vote to leave the EU, retailers are looking carefully at their currency exposures and weighing up the opportunities and threats,” she said. “Retailers in London are already seeing an uptick in demand as sales to tourists rise on the back of the fall in the pound. It should also be good news for UK suppliers as they become more competitive due to import prices rising, many of which are denominated in US dollars.

“Despite the uncertainty around Brexit, we are still finding overseas retailers looking to buy into the UK market, establish businesses to sell to UK customers, and set up European headquarters here. So long as London remains a retail and fashion capital and consumer confidence stays buoyant, these trends will continue.”

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