BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor December 2014

BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor December 2014

Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 7.0% in December versus a year earlier. In December 2013, online sales rose by 19.2% over the previous year.

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  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 7.0% in December versus a year earlier. In December 2013, online sales rose by 19.2% over the previous year. In December, online sales represented 17.0% of total Non-Food sales, against 16.0% in December 2013.
  • Health & Beauty and Household Appliances were the fastest growing categories online in December. The month started strongly with Cyberweek and ended strongly in the sales week but sales were soft in between, reaching a low the week before Christmas.
  • Online sales contributed 1.2 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales in December. The 3-month average contribution of online to Non-Food growth exceeded that of stores for the fourth consecutive month.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “Despite Black Friday having dragged some of our pre-Christmas internet spending into November, sales online remained strong with December showing a seven per cent increase on the same period last year.  This is especially good considering December 2013 saw the second highest growth ever recorded by our monitor.

“All product categories saw an increase in online purchases this month, showing that consumers’ burgeoning appetite to buy things on their computers, tablets and mobiles isn’t restricted to a single type of product.  The numbers also show that all of the growth in non-food sales in December came from digital channels. However, in the same period we saw bricks-and-mortar stores holding their ground, which is a testament to how the UK’s retailers have finessed their multi-channel offer – with the huge expansion in Click and Collect underpinning this.

“Although the busiest weeks for online shopping were predictably the week following Black Friday - ‘Cyberweek’ - and the Boxing Day sales, the popularity of click and collect meant shoppers continued to buy online throughout December. This data is sure to spur retailers on to continue to perfect their multi-channel offering in 2015.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “The parcel backlogs caused by the aftermath of Black Friday forced some retailers to renege on their delivery guarantees and this impacted shoppers’ confidence to buy gifts online in December.  Having hit the internet hard in November, as Christmas neared closer some consumers chose to shop in store to make sure they had their gifts in their hand and not in the mail.

“However, even against this challenging backdrop nearly one in five gifts were still bought online, and there is still growth to come from this channel.  The main factor constraining online is the retailers themselves: their systems still show signs of strain at peak times and they need to be able to cope from order to delivery.”

- ENDS -


Notes to Editors:

The Online BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor measures changes in the actual value (including VAT) of online retail sales, excluding automotive fuel. The Monitor measures the value of spending and hence does not adjust for price or VAT changes. If prices are rising, sales volumes will increase by less than sales values. In times of price deflation, sales volumes will increase by more than sales values.

Retailers report the value of their online sales for the current period and the equivalent period a year ago.

Total Non-Food sales growth is the percentage change in the value of all retail sales with the exception of food sales compared to the same period a year earlier. The total Non-Food sales measure is used to assess market level trends in Non-Food retail sales. Non-Food retail spending represents approximately 55% of total retail sales. 

Online (including mail order and phone) sales of Non-Food are transactions which take place over the internet, or via mail order or phone. Online sales growth is the percentage change in the value of online sales compared to those in the same period a year earlier. It is a guide to the growth of sales made by all non-store channels.

Penetration is the proportion of sales attributed to the online channel (including mail order and phone). Penetrations are calculated category by category as online sales submitted by participating retailers relative to total sales those retailers submit to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. Participants who do not sell online (or through non-store channels) are included but participants who do sell online but do not submit their online sales are excluded.

The responses provided by retailers within each sales category are weighted* to reflect the contribution of each category to total retail sales, thus making it representative of UK retail sales as a whole. The rates used are derived from the Office of National Statistics Family Spending Survey and revised every year. Because the figures compare sales this month with the comparable period last year, a seasonal adjustment is not made. However, changes in the timing of Bank Holidays and Easter can create distortions, which should be considered in the interpretation of the data.

In its role as sponsor of the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, KPMG is responsible for the aggregation of the retail sales data provided by the retailers on a weekly basis. This data consists of the relevant current week’s sales data and comparative sales figures for the same period in the prior year. The aggregation has been performed by KPMG on data for periods following 2 April 2000 and equivalent prior periods. The accuracy of the data is entirely the responsibility of the retailers providing it. The sponsorship role has been performed by KPMG since 10 April 2000 and the same for the aggregation of comparative sales figures for the period from 2 April 2000 it is not responsible for the aggregation of any data included in this Monitor relating to any period prior to 2 April 2000.

*The aggregation and weighting of data for the ‘online’ monitor has been performed by the BRC and KPMG for periods starting 25 November 2012 and equivalent prior year periods. Prior to that date, the online figures in this monitor refer to the unweighted Non-Food non store indicator, as published in the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor until July 2013.

The commentary from the BRC is intended to be of general interest to readers but is not advice or a recommendation and should not be relied upon without first taking professional advice. Anyone choosing to rely on it does so at his or her own risk. To the fullest extent permitted by law, KPMG will accept no responsibility or liability in connection with its sponsorship of the Monitor and its aggregation work to any party other than the BRC.

© Copyright  British Retail Consortium and KPMG (2014). The contents of this report and those of all ancillary documents and preparatory materials are the sole property of BRC and KPMG and are not to be copied, modified, published, distributed or commercially exploited other than with the express permission of BRC or for the purposes of journalistic comment and review. All rights reserved.


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The January 2015 Monitor, covering the four weeks 4 January – 31 January, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 10 February 2015. The data is collected for the BRC by KPMG.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is the UK's leading retail trade association. It represents the full range of retailers, large and small, multiples and independents, food and non-food, online and store based. 

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.9 billion in the year ended September 2014. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 162,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

Detailed weekly data by category is available to retailers who contribute to the monitor:

If you would like to participate in the Retail Sales Monitor, please contact:

Anne Alexandre 

T: 0207 854 8960 


This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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