BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor October 2015 | KPMG | UK

BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor October 2015

BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor October 2015

Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 9.2% in October versus a year earlier, when they had risen by 15.4% over the previous year, a relatively strong comparable period. October’s online sales performance was behind the 3-month and 12-month averages of 10.3% and 11.7%, respectively.


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  • In October 2015, Online sales represented 19.1% of total Non-Food sales, against 18.4% in October 2014. This is the highest penetration rate since November, an indicator that the run-up to Christmas has begun.
  • Furniture was the fastest growing category online, followed by Clothing which posted its highest penetration rate since January. In contrast, Health & Beauty recorded its lowest growth since our monitor began.
  • Online sales contributed 1.5 percentage points to the year-on-year growth of Non-Food total sales in October, while stores contributed relatively little.

Highest penetration rate since November 2014

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: "The growth of non-food online sales showed a loss of momentum in October, even if it was less severe than the one experienced by stores. However, October 2015 was right on trend with the online retail sales Christmas run up we have seen in the last couple of years: a record proportion of purchases were made online. Online non-food retail sales were 19.1 per cent of total non-food sales which is the highest since November 2014. The deep penetration rate can be partially attributed to customers looking for an online bargain in October’s sales. Consumers know that retailers’ websites are always striving to optimise usability, making online a sought after destination to hunt for items on promotion. Clothing, Health & Beauty, Toys & Baby Equipment and Household Appliances all reached their highest penetration rates in at least eight months. As we approach Black Friday retailers will be focusing on ensuring there is a successful fulfilment structure in place to satisfy the inevitably large online orders."

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "With the Bank Holiday boosting September figures, October growth rates online look somewhat weaker in comparison, with total non-food online sales up just 9.2%. However, online penetration rates jumped to 19.1% during the month as many retailers launched e-promotions to encourage pre-festive spending.

"Watches and jewellery were the star performers in October as retailers invested in their platforms and placed additional focus on online to drive sales in this category.

"With important promotional e-commerce days coming up in November, retailers will be making sure their websites and fulfilment operations are ready to handle any fireworks on Black Friday and Cyber Monday."


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. As a result, indicators like the online penetration rates may vary as the RSM sample of participating retailers changes.

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.

Media Enquiries:

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The November 2015 Monitor, covering the four weeks 1 November – 28 November, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 8 December 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.

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

Anne Alexandre

+44 (0)207 854 8960

© 2017 KPMG IFRG Limited is a UK company, limited by guarantee. All rights reserved. KPMG IFRG Limited, registered in England No 5253019. Registered office: 15 Canada Square, London, E14 5GL, UK.

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