Online sales throughout November ‘highest on record thanks to Black Friday’

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 11.8 per cent in November compared to the same time last year, according to a new report from the BRC.

In fact, the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor reveals that the non-food online penetration rate was the highest on record.

“With growth of 0.7 per cent, November was quite a slow month overall for retail. The picture was somewhat mixed when we look across the different categories, with half experiencing growth and the other half seeing a decline. Furniture and the home categories were the main drivers of growth for the month, with large and small electrical appliances doing particularly well, driven by Black Friday sales,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium.

“Black Friday had an undoubtedly significant impact for the non-food categories, disturbing the build-up to Christmas: traditionally, sales in the last week of November were 25 per cent larger than in the first week of the month. Last year already, those sales were inflated by the popularity of Black Friday deals and this year, they were 50 per cent larger than in the first week of November.

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“As consumers and retailers continue to adapt to the changing patterns of omni-channel shopping, where the lines between channels become less and less relevant, this build-up to Christmas is one of the hardest to read in years. The conversion of people’s higher disposable income into retail sales shouldn’t be taken for granted.”

Analyst Springboard has also reported that UK retail destinations have continued to take a hit from online shoppers in the aftermath of the Black Friday weekend.

“The volume of activity in retail stores in the week following the Black Friday weekend has dipped further on the back of strong activity within the eCommerce space,” commented Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard.

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“While the last payday before Christmas has traditionally driven a spike in sales for bricks-and-mortar retailers, there is strong evidence that the spending patterns of consumers are changing. For the first time this year, The Black Friday long weekend was an online shopping experience for consumers, and it appears that click and collect opportunities have not generated the uplifts in footfall that some retailers may have hoped for.

“Leading into Christmas, we expect to see online shopping continue to make dents in footfall activity. However, as most last order dates for online Christmas shopping occur on the 18th and 19th of December, it is possible we will see that traditional spike in footfall on the 23rd December as consumers head in store for last minute Christmas buying.”

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