Christmas 2015 has been called the “online Christmas” as consumers using the Internet to buy presents drove non-food retail sales to increase in December by 15.1 percent, compared to 2014, when sales had risen by 7 percent over the previous year.

According to the figures released by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG in the monthly online retail sales monitor, December online sales for non-food products marks the best performance since June 2015. It added that December's online sales performance was ahead of its 3-month and 12-month averages of 12.3 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively.

In December 2015, online sales represented 19.7 percent of total non-food sales, against 17.3 percent in December 2014, meaning almost 1 in 5 pounds was spent online during the festive season. This is the second highest penetration of 2015, indicative of the popularity of online shopping in the run-up to Christmas and during the early January sales.

Over the three months to December, online contributed 2.5 percentage points to UK non-food growth overall, confirming this channel as the key driver of growth.

British Retail Consortium chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said: “This was very much an online Christmas with this channel playing a vital role in driving retail sales in December. The proportion of online spend was up across all categories we measure with household appliances, footwear and furniture leading the way.

“Click-and-collect continued to be instrumental, providing convenience for consumers and equipping smaller format stores with extended product ranges during the busy Christmas period. There were also some knock-on benefits, such as encouraging greater footfall into stores, in turn, inspiring impulse buys.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, added: "With 190 percent of average rainfall in December, many consumers chose to login rather than walk in over the festive period. There was a marked increase in online shopping this year with that channel producing its highest contribution percentage to non-food sales growth compared to a decline in store growth.”


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