Internet Retail Sales at 10% again continuing double digit growth

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS)  published the monthly retail sales figures for May yesterday (pdf) Full details  are available from the ONS site.

The overall figures of a 2.1% rebound this month were almost universally well received. Discounting on & off line plus, as ever the weather, were noted as having contributed to the good news!

Our Internet sales headlines:

  • Internet sales continue at the 10% level of all sales for the year to date
  • For every £1 spent in the online retail sector 47 pence was spent on non-store retailing 36 pence in non food stores and 17 pence in food stores!
  • All internet sales excluding food dropped back again to 15.4% (16.1%) and have now been within a range of 15.4% -16.6% for the last six months.
  • The decline in the rates of growth of the major online only retailers noted in previous months is likely reversing .After a 4 month lull we might just be returning to the average of around 20% or more as recorded since the statistics were first compiled. These figures include the online sales of all the majors ie  Apple, Google, eBay, Amazon (including LoveFilm), Asos, Netflix and Shop Direct (Isme Very, Littlewoods etc)
  • Online food sales at 3.4% of all food sales continue at close to record levels. On a year to date basis they stand at just under 3.5%

May and year to date stats:

  • Year to date internet sales 10.1% (10.2% revised1) of all retail sales
  • Monthly year on year increase +10.3%.(+14.5% revised1)
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on April 2013 annualised +8.6% (2) on May 2012 +13.7%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group Non-store retailing and this sector shows growth of 19.7% on 2012 and accounts for nearly 50% of all online retail sales. This is an area which SHOULD just grow & grow unless further analysis is undertaken of this channel!

As always the “history” has been revised1 by the ONS which this month went back as far as May 2012 with some largely favourable changes to Internet sales. Theywere revised upwards in all 12 months!.

The ONS words are:

Internet Sales – Key Points

  • In May 2013, the overall proportion of non-seasonally adjusted online sales remained high at 9.7%.
  • Average weekly spending online (internet sales values non-seasonally adjusted) in May 2013 was £582 million. This was an increase of 10.3% compared with May 2012.
  • The amount spent online accounted for 9.7% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel.
  • As expected, more was spent online in the non-store retailing sector than any other sector. Spending online now accounts for 66.4% of total spending in this sector. In the food sector 3.4% of spending was online. This sector has the lowest proportion of online spending in relation to all spending.

Internet sales in detail

Internet sales estimate how much was spent online through retailers across all store types in Great Britain. Figures are non-seasonally adjusted and the reference year is 2010=100. Table 2 shows the year-on-year growth rates for total internet sales, by sector and the proportion of sales each sector makes to total internet sales.

Table 2: Summary of Internet Statistics for May 2013

 We have added our annotations to the ONS table) – The bold categories/ figures in the table are the primary constituents of the total (ie (a) + (b) + (c) = All retailing). Dept. stores, Textile etc, Household etc and Other stores are simply an analysis of (b) All non-food.

We have also added the weekly Internet sales figures by sector and the proportion they represent of all online sales.

Sector summary

The non-store retailing sector comprises of stalls and markets, mail order and those retailers that sell mainly online.

* Whilst the ONS will not confirm the names of specific retailers within categories they did say that retailers selling wholly online with no physical outlets would be included in the Non store retailing category along with eg online  mail order retailers.

As previously mentioned the figures are no longer experimental.

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 The moving annual total, which we report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since October 2007 being the first full year of reporting by the ONS) to an all time high of £30.5bn an increase in the month (adjusted re restatements and revisions) of 0.72% annualised 8.6%. This drops again into single digit territory experienced in much of the second half of last year. The average this year is 12.5%. The long term compound average growth rate (from 2007) is a little under 24%.

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The published weekly figures at £582 million was below our estimate (£600) by some way and but we met our £30.5 billion moving annual total target due to historic revisions. June weatherwise has been above average to date but there may be troubles ahead so we will stick with our £600 million target together with a moving annual total of £31 billion ish.

 We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from late 2007 by month. As before it highlights that high street sales have been and continue to go nowhere! As, we have mentioned before, the Boston Consulting Group forecast  in their report (The $4.2 Trillion opportunity)  that this trend is likely to continue with the high streets market share contracting at around 2.75% a year from 2010 through 2016.

Further details and explanations are either in the ONS release on the statistics or on their website. As previously mentioned a retail convention of a 4, 4, 5 week quarter is used by the ONS (December is a 5 week month). To cater for the inconvenience of years not having 364 days every 6 years or so an extra week is included in the statistics. The ONS adds this in January.

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