BRC-KPMG online retail sales monitor January 2016

BRC-KPMG online retail sales monitor January 2016

Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 14.9% in January versus a year earlier, when they had risen by 11.7% over the previous year. This is the second best performance since June 2015.

Also on

Online retail sales monitor highlights
  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 14.9% in January versus a year earlier, when they had risen by 11.7% over the previous year. This is the second best performance since June 2015. January’s online sales performance was ahead of its 3-month and 12-month averages of 14.0% and 12.7%, respectively.
  • In January 2016, Online sales represented 21.5% of total Non-Food sales, against 20.1% in January 2015. This is the second highest penetration rate since the inception of this monitor in December 2012, indicative of the popularity of online shopping during the January sales.
  • Toys & Baby Equipment was the fastest growing category, achieving its best performance since January 2015. This was followed closely by Health & Beauty and Other Non-Food, with the latter reaching its fastest growth rate since August 2014 and making the largest contribution to Online Non-Food sales growth.
  • In January, Online sales contributed 2.4 percentage points to the year-on-year growth of total Non-Food sales, while stores made a larger contribution.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “While Online continued to be a key driver of growth for retailers in January, after playing a vital role in driving sales over the Christmas period, overall growth was more balanced across both channels. Online’s contribution to the growth of Non-Food sales in January, 2.4 percentage points, was outperformed by that of Stores. For example footwear and furniture sales experienced more growth in stores than online, a sign that the high street’s attraction remains strong. Online sales were up by 14.9 per cent, close to the Christmas record and the second best performance since June. The top performing non-food category was toys and baby equipment, as the popular lines sold out before Christmas became available again. The penetration rate for online was 21.5 per cent, up slightly on the same month last year, and whilst a couple of categories gave away to the stores a number of others, including clothing, saw their highest ever recorded online penetration rate.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “While online growth slowed slightly in January to 14.9 per cent, the popularity of this channel continued from December with penetration rates rising to 21.5 per cent. Retailers encouraged shoppers to beat the back-to-work blues with a variety of seasonal e-promotions. Fashion sales were particularly popular as consumers took full advantage of clearance sales and the colder weather encouraged purchases of heavier knits and woollens.

“As use of online channels continues to increase, retailers continue to invest in their logistics, fulfilment and returns networks to improve the customer experience.”


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

British Retail Consortium

21 Dartmouth Street

London SW1H 9BP

T: +44 (0)20 7854 8900

Media: + +44 (0)207 854 8924



15 Canada Square

London E14 5GL

T: +44 (0)20 7311 1000

Jessica Liebmann

T: +44 (0)207 311 3245

M:+ 44 (0)7551 135 778


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.

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


Connect with us


Request for proposal



KPMG’s new-look website

KPMG’s new-look website