Slowest online growth since April 2013

Slowest online growth since April 2013

All categories continued to show online growth despite experiencing a slowdown.


Also on

  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 6.5% in August versus a year earlier, when it had risen by 19.8% over the previous year, the strongest growth of 2014. This represents the slowest online growth since April 2013.
  • In August 2015, online sales represented 17.2% of total Non-Food sales, against 16.3% in August 2014.
  • All categories continued to show online growth despite experiencing a slowdown, with Household Appliances recording its slowest online growth since our records began in November.
  • Online sales contributed 1.4 percentage points to the year-on-year change of Non-Food total sales in August. Without online, the August Non-Food decline would have been more severe.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "August was always going to be tough in comparison to last year which had seen the fastest growth since our online monitor started in November 2012, driven by very strong fashion sales. To make things worse, the summer bank holiday fell outside this month's coverage, when a lot of people would have bought back-to-school clothes and back to university furnishings. Combined, those factors led to the slowest online growth for non-food since April 2013.

"Retailers continue to invest to offer a fast and good value online service and are now focusing even more on optimising delivery efficiency. For example, they are grouping multiple orders, offering next day delivery for a limited period or free delivery only above a certain basket size. This is being managed in what remains an extremely competitive environment where margins are under pressure from deflation in shop prices and rising operating costs. Consumers therefore are continuing to get great value."

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "With the summer bank holiday delaying purchases and many consumers jetting off out of the UK in search of warmer climates, August saw a slowdown in e-commerce growth across almost all categories with non-food online sales up just 6.5 per cent versus 2014.

"Despite this, online penetration rates remain stable at 17.2 per cent and retailers will be hoping for cooler autumn weather to entice consumers back to the virtual aisles ahead of the Christmas rush."


- 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.

Covering the four weeks 2 – 29 August 2015


For media enquiries please contact:

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Media: +44 (0)207 854 8924




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Jessica Liebmann, KPMG Corporate Communications

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M: +44 (0)7551 135 778


KPMG Press office: +44 (0)207 694 8773

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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 LL, 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 members firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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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