In the three months to March 2019, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed in its retail sales index that the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 1.6% when compared with Q4 in 2018, following sustained growth throughout the first three months of the year.
However although a period of growth, figures show that all store types except department stores and household goods stores increased in the quantity bought in the three months to March 2019, and shows food stores and non-store retailing being the largest contributors to this growth.
Year-on-year growth in the quantity bought increased by 6.7% in March 2019, the highest since October 2016, with a range of stores noting that the milder weather this year helped boost sales in comparison with the “Beast from the East” impacting sales in March 2018.
Department stores were the only store type to decrease in the quantity bought when compared with March 2018, with a fall of 0.3% in March 2019.
Online sales as a proportion of all retailing increased to 18.6% in March 2019, from the 18.1% reported in February 2019. Online retail sales saw sales growth of just 5.2% year-on-year (YoY) in April, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. The group said this compares “poorly” to the strong performance seen in April of last year (+12.5%), but continued an ongoing trend of subdued growth seen since the start of 2019. During the first quarter of this year, the Index recorded average sales growth of 7.5%, which is the lowest quarterly growth since Q1 2015 (+6%). Comparatively, the same quarter last year delivered growth of 14.5%.
Vice president at RichRelevance, Raj Badarinath commented: “It is not a surprise to see online sales growing year on year in the UK. With increased competition from Amazon, DNVB brands and more, and traditional retail footfalls declining, savvy retailers having been investing in greater amounts in online technologies for personalization and commerce.”
“UK consumers today are short on time and are inundated with the problem of choice – too much content, product, offers and more. Retailers can reduce decision fatigue by extending personalization at every digital touchpoint to every individual using AI, which provides the technical ability to do so for the first time. Retailers realize that the UK consumer is fickle and easily wooed, so techniques like hyper-personalization ensure a seamless, memorable customer experience, to increase repeat sales and improve overall lifetime value.”