Online retail sales jump 26.5% in December 2009


Online retail sales jump 26.5% in December 2009

Rebecca Thomson

Online retailers saw 26.5% growth in December, up from 16.9% in November and the highest level of growth in 2009.

The bad weather last month may have helped online retailers, as shoppers chose to stay at home instead of braving freezing high streets, although retailers saw growth across the board.

Online retail growth is far outshining overall retail growth, with overall sales rising 4.2% on a like-for-like basis compared with December 2008. But the internet is starting from a low base, with sales still only accounting for around 4% of total retail sales.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which released the figures, said the sharp increase in online retail between November and December shows that customer confidence in sites is growing, as they appear happier to leave online shopping until closer to Christmas.

Sharon Hardiman, head of non-store retailing at the BRC, said, "Christmas produced the strongest online sales growth of the year for non-food goods. Non-store sales are only about 4% of overall retail sales but are growing much more rapidly as people become increasingly confident about shopping this way.

"For some, severe weather made shopping online more attractive than going out, and starting online clearance sales early, even as the shops shut on Christmas Eve, got a good response from many customers."

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