Online Steady Contributor To Non-Food Growth | KPMG | UK

Online Steady Contributor To Non-Food Growth

Online Steady Contributor To Non-Food Growth

Growth of online sales of non-food products in the UK is the second-slowest growth of 2014.


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  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 14.2% in September versus a year earlier, when it had risen by 8.2% over the previous year, the second-slowest growth of 2014. This is ahead of the 12-month average of 12.1%
  • In September 2015, Online sales represented 17.7% of total Non-Food sales, against 17.2% in September 2014, a 0.5 percentage point increase, the smallest since April 2014.
  • Furniture saw the second-highest growth of all categories and its best since our record began, helped by the positive distortion of the Bank Holiday inclusion in the September period. The fashion categories contributed the strongest to Non-Food growth, helped by a soft comparable in September 2014. 
  • Online sales contributed 1.4 percentage points to the year-on-year change of Non-Food total sales in September. Stores contributed more than Online, helped by the inclusion of the Bank Holiday in the period. 

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive Officer, British Retail Consortium, said: “Although bricks and mortar shops were the stars this month with great sales strength, online is proving itself to be a successful steady contributor to overall sales all year round. September's online furniture sales were particularly fruitful with the best sales growth since records began in December 2012. Some exclusively online retailers are now opening physical shops in attempts to connect with more customers and showcase products in the way only shops with a front door can.” 

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “Online sales sprung back up in September with non-food online sales increasing 14.2% as consumers returned from summer holidays and some bouts of wetter weather persuading shoppers to browse the virtual aisles rather than hitting the high streets.

“In particular, retailers saw positive responses to both end-of season-sales as well as the launch of new ranges for health and beauty products.

“Looking ahead, retailers will no doubt be putting online systems through their final paces to ensure all the channels are ready for the all-important Black Friday and run up to the festive season.”





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 October 2015 Monitor, covering the four weeks 4 October – 31 October, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 10 November 2015.

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.

Sponsored and Administered by 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: +44 (0)207 854 8960


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