Online retail sales checkout slower

Further signs of a weakening in consumer confidence have been revealed after retailers recorded the slowest rate of online sales growth for three years.

According to the British Retail Consortium – KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor for April 2016 non-food online sales rose 6.6% during April. That is the slowest growth since April 2013.

“As shopping online continues to become a staple of the retail experience, it’s little surprise that the growth in the value of digital sales continues to taper off year-on-year. April saw retailers growing online sales which is a healthy increase but the slowest for three years,” said Helen Dickinson chief executive of the BRC.

“Today’s monitor also shows that online has been the driving force behind sales growth in the three months to April with digital sales contributing just over two percent to total non-food sales growth while store based transactions fell by -1.3 per cent. With consumers no longer thinking in channels, physical stores can continue to contribute to the success of a retailer’s online offer and vice versa. It’s therefore critical for retailers to finesse their offer from clicks to bricks and for policy makers to ensure regulations for consumer protection and retailers alike are consistent and channel agnostic.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, added: “Despite a further slowdown in online sales during April, penetration rates remained high as cleverly timed discounting and promotional activity proved online players were no ‘April fools’. Looking ahead, retailers may well need to bolster online offerings as warmer temperatures start to tempt consumers back into the shops.”