All time records for April Internet Sales

Yesterday The Office for National Statistics (ONS)  published the monthly retail sales figures for April (pdf) Full details  are available on the ONS site.

Overall figures showed an increase in sales of  1.3% on last month which contrasted with expectations of a rise of 0.4% according to Bloomberg. Even the ONS on their preferred quarterly view noted ” The underlying pattern, as expressed by the rolling three month on three month growth rate, was one of growth, with the quantity bought increasing by 1.8%. This was the highest since March 2004 and was the 14th consecutive month of three-month-on-three month growth in the quantity bought.”

All the figures we quote are now the new seasonally adjusted statistics issued by the ONS. January 2014 was the one year in six when an extra week occurs statistically and we have annotated our headline graph to show an approximately comparable level of sales.

Our Internet sales headlines:

  • New all time highs in April
    1. Internet sales 11% all sales
    2. Internet Sales excluding food 17.3% all sales excluding food
    3. Internet Sales over £700 million (£707.5) per week…
  • April internet sales up 2.6% on March
  • Online food sales continue to exceed £100 million a week for the seventh consecutive month.
  • For every £1 spent in the online retail sector 49 pence was spent on non-store retailing 36 pence in non food stores and 15 pence in food stores!
  • We do think the ONS needs to do more analysis of internet sales as already nearly half (49% this month) are effectively categorised as sales by online retailers virtually irrespective of the underlying goods or services! These average YoY groth fidures of over 20%

April and year to date stats for internet sales:

  • Months sales 11% (10.8% last month 10.4 % a year ago) of all retail sales
  • Monthly year on year increase of 13.3% (7.9% last month 14.1 % a year ago)
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on March 2014 annualised +12.4% (2) on March 2013 +16.3%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group Non-store retailing and this sector shows growth of 16.% on 2013 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!

The ONS words this month are:

“Key Points

Following a weak March, the amount spent online increased by 13.3% in April 2014 compared with April 2013 and by 2.6% compared with March 2014.

Internet Sales in Detail

Seasonally adjusted Internet sales data are provided within this release. These seasonally adjusted estimates are published in the RSI Internet tables (204 Kb Excel sheet) and include:

  • A seasonally adjusted value index; and
  • Year-on-year and month-on-month growth rates.

Internet sales are estimates of how much was spent online through retailers across all store types in Great Britain. The reference year is 2010=100.

Key Points

  • Average weekly spending online in April 2014 was £707.5 million. This was an increase of 13.3% compared with April 2013.
  • The amount spent online accounted for 11.0% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel, compared with 10.4% in April 2013.
  • The online spend in all store types except other stores showed year-on-year growth with department stores once again showing continued growth of 30.3%.

Table 4 shows the year-on-year growth rates for total Internet sales by sector and the proportion of sales made online in each retail sector.

Table 4: Summary of Internet Statistics for April 2014 (seasonally adjusted)

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.

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.

The moving annual total, which we report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since January 2009  to an all time high of £35.2.billion an increase in the month  of  1.0% annualised 12.4%. The average this year is 15.3%. The long term compound average growth rate is around 23%.

The published weekly figure was £707.5 million which exceeded even our estimate and we only missed the moving annual total at £34.9 billion by £0.1 billion! The average monthly increase this year has now moved up to 0.8% but we’re going for another above average May increase so are looking for £725 million and a moving annual total of close to £35.5 billion

Click to enlarge

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. Due to the exceptional 5 week month in Jan 2014 there is a 6 yearly jump to allow for the 53rd week!

Click to enlarge

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 (March June September and December are 5 week months). 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 which happened this year the previous one being in 2008.

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