Internet sales record at 11.4% of all sales

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

Overall figures showed a decrease in sales of 0.5% on last month which was in line with expectations according to Bloomberg.

Even the ONS on their preferred quarterly view noted continuing significant growth ” The three-month on previous three-month movement in the quantity bought showed continued growth for the fifteenth consecutive month increasing by 1.3%. This is the longest period of sustained growth since November 2007.”

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 May
  •          o Internet sales 11.4% all sales
  •          o Internet Sales over £725 million (£727.5) per week.
  •          o Online food sales at 3.7% of all food for first time
  •   May internet sales up 1.5% on April
  •   Online food sales continue to exceed £100 million a week for the eighth consecutive month
  •   For every £1 spent in the online retail sector 50 pence was spent on non-store retailing 35 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 half are effectively categorised as sales by online retailers virtually irrespective of the underlying goods or services! These average YoY growth figures of over 20%

May and year to date stats for internet sales:

  • Months sales 11.4% (11.1% last month 10.3 % a year ago) of all retail sales
  • Monthly year on year increase of 15.1% (14.3% last month 11.1 % a year ago)
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on April 2014 annualised +15.9% (2) on May 2013 +16.9%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group Non-store retailing and this sector shows growth of 22% 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

  • The amount spent online increased by 15.1% in May 2014 compared with May 2013 and by 1.5% compared with April 2014.

Internet Sales in Detail

Seasonally adjusted Internet sales data are provided within this release. These seasonally adjusted estimates are published in the RSI tables (195 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 May 2014 was £727.5million. This was an increase of 15.1% compared with May 2013;
  • The amount spent online accounted for 11.4% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel, compared to 10.3% in May 2013; and
  • The online spend in department stores increased by 26.5% year-on-year but decreased by 15.7% in other stores.

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.

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.

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The moving annual total, which we report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since January 2009 to an all time high of £35.7.billion an increase in the month of 1.1% annualised 14.1%. The average this year is 15.6%. The long term compound average growth rate is around 23%.

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The published weekly figure was £727.5 million which was in line with our estimate as was our moving annual total prediction of £35.5 billion.

The average monthly increase this year has now moved up to 1.2% so we’re going for this level of increase in June so are looking for £730-£735 million and a moving annual total of close to £36.3 billion

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!

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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