Internet sales rise to over £10bn for November 2013

Less people are now shopping on the high street and are turning more and more to online shopping to avoid the hustle and bustle of stressed Christmas shopping.  Online sales for the UK have risen to an all time record of £10.1bn, with high street shopping footfall dropping by 2.9% in comparison to this time last year.  In London, footfall has fallen by 4.1% in the week to 15th December compared to the same time in 2012.

The increase in online shopping is posing problems for retailers:  Waitrose have recently admitted to not being able to deliver over 400 orders due to a ‘technical issue’. Thankfully, shoppers have now been compensated and normal service has been resumed.

Argos online shoppers have also experienced problems when ordering goods to be collected from new digital outlets in London.  For people arriving at the stores to collect their goods, many found that the stores hadn’t opened.  The four London stores have now opened but 1 store in Scotland and 1 in Essex still remain closed.

Gadgets are leading in sales with Ipads and games consoles being the popular items of purchase.  Sales of electrical goods have also risen in November by 63% of which sales of home and garden items rose 42%.

Online shopping is a strong growth in contrast to the high street

Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at the consultancy firm, Capgemini, said: “E-retail continues to be the growth engine of an otherwise struggling retail sector.”

This weekend is now the last one for shopping, and UK shoppers are expected to spend in the region of £12bn over the two days compared with the £17bn spend during the whole of the month of October, 20% more in comparison to the same time last year.

90% of UK shoppers are still preferring to shop in stores but the high street footfall drop could be affected by shoppers waiting for the sale discounts to arrive. Sally Eden, at the New West End Company, said: “Shoppers are accustomed to pre-Christmas bargains and are holding out to ensure they get the best deals, and have put off their main shopping for the final nine days before Christmas.”

The first to implement discounts have been the fashion retailers, giving discounts of up to 50%, with the milder winter weather fashion stores are now carrying more stock than usual.  Analysts are now predicting that with the slow build up to Christmas a lot of retailers will now not reach their sales targets.

Howard Archer, chief UK & European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “There is considerable uncertainty over just how good a Christmas this will be for retailers despite the economy’s improved performance overall – especially as it is apparent that consumers took a breather in November and October after spending at a rapid rate through the third quarter.”