Black Friday boosts November Internet Sales to all Time Records

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

Overall figures showed an increase in sales volumes of  1.6% (including fuel) on last month which according to Bloomberg was greater than its estimate of 0.4% obtained in their news survey of  economists. We think there are comparative distortions this month compared to November 2013 as “Black Friday” is included in November this year but in December last year. We shall see! “The ONS data also showed the continuing impact of the supermarket price war. Food prices measured by the deflator dropped an annual 1 percent, and overall prices fell 2 percent, the most in 12 years.”

The ONS on their preferred quarterly view noted continuing growth.” The underlying pattern in the three-month on three-month movement in the quantity bought continued to show growth for the 21st consecutive month increasing by 1.1%. This was the longest period of sustained growth since November 2007 when there were 25 periods of consecutive growth.”

All the internet 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:

  • Strong Internet sales (helped by Black Friday) achieve highest monthly growth rate (3.0%) this year.
  • Total Internet sales as proportion of all sales at new all time high of 11.5% & this is the eighth consecutive month when internet sales have been above 11%
  • Internet food sales as a proportion all food sales at new all time high of 3.9% and only just short of £115 million a week.
  • For every £1 spent in the online retail sector 47 pence was spent on non-store retailing 38 pence in non food stores and 15 pence in food stores!
  • The Non Store Retailing sector which includes the likes of Amazon and other wholly online retailers seems to be levelling out rather than showing an increase and since its peak in May at over £360 million per week seems to be stuck in a range of between £350 – £356 million.
  • We do think the ONS needs to do more analysis of internet sales as already nearly 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% but now show signs of slowing to nearer 15%!

November and year to date stats for internet sales:

  • Months sales 11.5% (11.3% last month 10.7 % a year ago) of all retail sales
  • Monthly year on year increase of 12.9% (9.2% last month 17.5% a year ago)
  • Year to date increase on 2013 is 12.4% (12.3% last month)
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on October 2014 annualised +11.9% (2) on November 2013 +14.3%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group Non-store retailing and this sector shows growth of 10.7% on 2013 this month 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 value of sales made online increased by 2.9% compared with October 2014 and accounted for 11.5% of all retail sales in November 2014. Online sales increased by 12.9% compared with November 2013.

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 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 2011=100.

Key Points

  • Average weekly spending online in November 2014 was £753.4 million. This was an increase of 12.9% compared with November 2013. This increase is in part due to ‘Black Friday’ which was not included in the November 2013 data.
  • The online spend in household goods stores increased by 38.4% compared with October 2013. This was the highest year-on-year spend in this store type since November 2009 when it increased by 43.2%. The largest contribution to this growth came from electrical appliance stores.
  • The amount spent online accounted for 11.5% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel, compared with 10.7% in November 2013.

Table 3 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 3: Summary of Internet Statistics for November 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

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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 £37.8 billion an increase in the month  of  0.9% annualised 12.6%. The average this year is 14%. The long term compound average growth rate is around 15%.

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The published total internet sales weekly figure was £753.6 million which was ahead of our expectations anjd we even beat our moving annual estimate with the actual reaching £37.8 billion.

The average monthly increase this year has now risen to 0.9% . With a strong Cyber Monday followed by it’s manic brother we are optimistically looking for another record breaker at  seasonal recovery above average an increase of around 0.75%  next month so we’re  going for £775 million in December and a moving annual total of about £38.25 billion.

We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from late 2009 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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