BRC KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor February 2016 | KPMG | UK

BRC KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor February 2016

BRC KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor February 2016

Online drives non-food sales growth in February


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BRC KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor Feb 2016
  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 10.7% in February versus a year earlier, when they had risen by 8.3% over the previous year. This is the slowest growth since October and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 13.7% and 12.9% respectively.
  • In February 2016, Online sales represented 20.4% of total Non-Food sales, against 18.9% in February 2015. The three-month penetration rate has now been established above 20% for the third month in a row. However, Furniture showed a lower penetration rate than in February 2015.
  • Excluding online sales, only three categories would have shown growth in February: Furniture, Home Accessories and Health & Beauty.
  • In February, Online sales contributed 2.1 percentage points to the year-on-year growth of total Non-Food sales. On a three monthly basis, online contributed 84% of Non-Food sales growth.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “Online channels once again played a vital role in driving retail sales in February. Compared with the same month last year, we saw a 10.7 per cent growth in online non-food sales. With the online penetration rate standing at 20.4 per cent, February was the third month  in a row when online accounted for over one in every five pounds spent on non-food items. Looking at sales of non- food across all channels, on a three monthly basis, the web’s contribution to growth was an impressive 84 per cent.

“The UK continues to be a global leader in online retail sales and this is down to the considerable investment British retailers continue to make in their online channels. With budget 2016 on the horizon, Government has an opportunity to enable retail to build on its position of global leadership by recognising the significance of the ongoing structural change and considering how, by working with the industry, risks of these changes to more deprived areas and the most vulnerable in the workforce can be addressed.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “Online growth rates slowed in February in what is normally a quiet retail month. However, with this channel still showing double-digit growth and penetration above 20 per cent, it remains a very significant contributor to non-food sales growth.“

Much is being done to eliminate barriers between channels as the consumer is channel agnostic. However, the shift in shopping habits to the online channel is also bringing renewed focus on the role of the store.” 


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 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.

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