Online: Destination of choice during Black Friday sales | KPMG | UK

Online: Destination of choice during Black Friday sales

Online: Destination of choice during Black Friday sales

Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 11.8% in November versus a year earlier, when they had risen by 12.0% over the previous year.


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Online destination for choice during Black Friday
  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 11.8% in November versus a year earlier, when they had risen by 12.0% over the previous year. November’s online sales performance was in line with its 3-month average of 11.9% and was just ahead of its 12-month average of 11.6%.
  • In November 2015, Online sales represented 22.4% of total Non-Food sales, against 20.3% in November 2014, meaning 1 in 5 pounds was spent online. This is the highest penetration since the inception of this monitor in December 2012, indicative of the popularity of online shopping ahead of Christmas and during the Black Friday sales.
  • Household Appliances achieved its fastest growth since our records began in November 2014 and its highest penetration rate, at 40.8%. Similarly, Health & Beauty reached its strongest penetration rate on record, at 8.0%.
  • Online sales contributed 2.7 percentage points to the year-on-year growth of Non-Food total sales in November, while stores made a negative contribution.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “Online was an attractive place for shoppers this November with the highest penetration rate on record at 22 per cent, edging closer to people spending £1 in every £4 online across non-food categories. Retailers worked hard to offer attractive targeted Black Friday promotions, which were often extended across several days, as well as enhancing the customer experience by improving website performance, offering user-friendly apps and improving order delivery services. Customers had access to an array of offers, with many retailers personalising their website offerings such as granting loyal customers early access to sales. We spent heavily on household appliances online with the category also seeing its highest penetration rate on record at an impressive 40 per cent. The success of November’s online sales will encourage customers to continue to shop across channels in the run-up to Christmas.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “As some retailers sought to play down the stampede of Black Friday and put fighting in the aisles behind them, the consumer too shied away from the High Street to click into Christmas from the phone or tablet. This year’s was certainly an online Black Friday, which drove penetration levels to an all-time high of 22.4 per cent.“Retailers will delight in systems that were able to withstand the peak demand but will yet have to count the cost of meeting delivery deadlines and handling returns next month before they know if this has been a profitable venture or a giveaway gesture.”


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.

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The December 2015 Monitor, covering the five weeks 29 November – 2 January, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 12 January 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 byKPMG 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.

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