Quarterly Internet Sales increase highest since 2011

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

Overall figures showed a decrease in sales volumes of  0.1% on last month which was below  expectations which were for an increase of 0.3% according to Bloomberg. The weather got a seasonal mention being blamed for the delay in summer clothes sales leading to weakness in that segment.

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 sixteenth consecutive period increasing by 1.6%. This is the highest calendar quarter since March 2004 (1.9%) and has been 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:

  • Internet food sales at all time high of £109 million and are over £100 million a week for the ninth  consecutive month
  • Internet sales quarterly increase of 6.2%
  • June internet sales down 0.1% on May
  • 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 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%

June and year to date stats for internet sales:

  • Months sales 11.3% (11.4% last month 10.4 % a year ago) of all retail sales
  • Monthly year on year increase of 13.4% (15.5% last month 17.8 % a year ago)
  • Increase on quarter 1 of 2014 6.2% which is the highest quarterly increase since Q3  of 2011 (6.9%)
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on May 2014 annualised +12.5% (2) on June 2013 +16.5%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group Non-store retailing and this sector shows growth of 14% 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 13.4% in June 2014 compared with June 2013 and decreased by 0.1% compared with May 2014. Month-on-month this is the first time since January 2014 we have seen a decrease (2.1%).

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 (196 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 GB. The reference year is 2010=100.

Key Points

  • Average weekly spending online in June 2014 was £728.9 million. This was an increase of 13.4% compared with June 2013.
  • The amount spent online accounted for 11.3% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel, compared to 10.4% in June 2013.
  • The online spend in department stores increased by 10.3% year-on-year, this is the lowest spend online in this store type since November 2011 (9.5%).

Table 5 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 5: 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 £36.2.billion an increase in the month  of  1.2% annualised 12.5%. The average this year is 15.2%. The long term compound average growth rate is around 23%.

The published weekly figure was £728.9 million which was marginally below our estimate as was  the moving annual total at £36..2 billion.

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The average monthly increase this year is  now 1.1% so we’re  going for a little above this level of increase in July so are looking for £735-£740 million and a moving annual total of close to £36.6 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.

We beat Germany and Argentina

That’s in the  G20 e-Trade Readiness Index which “… measures the degree to which the G20 countries encourage through policy, regulation and infrastructure cross-border trade using the Internet.

The report is based on a quantitative Index which scores the countries (excluding the EU as a separate entity) across five categories:

  1. Investment climate
  2. Internet environment
  3. International trading
  4. Environment, regulatory and legal framework
  5. The environment for e-payments.”

It is produced by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit and was commissioned by ebay inc.

There are 19 in the G20 ‘cos the EU is the 20th member and wisely, we thought, are therefore not reported on separately by the Intellignce Unit particularly as it would involve gathering data on over an additional 20 counties!

Here are the 5 category scores.

Click to enlarge

Our simplistic analysis concludes that the UK could improve and get into the top 3 if it did not loose out so much in the Investment climate where it has only 2/3 of the overall winners score.

The general comments on this category are “The investment climate category in the G20 e-Trade readiness Index measures macroeconomic and political stability as well as demographic factors, such as population, median age and education, that affect the risks and returns associated with investment in a  country. To emphasise the role of technology and SMEs, the extent of ICT investment and access to financing for entrepreneurs are also included. Countries that score well in this category are characterised by high levels of technology investment, a large, young and growing middle class and openness to entrepreneurial ventures.”

We’re surprised that the UK scores so badly and is even below Brazil and only just above Saudi Arabia.

Much more of course in the Economist’s report

Amazon Prime Air Approaches Takeoff

Following its drone / octocopter publicity last December Amazon have now formally applied (July 10) to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) as follows.”In order to allow outdoor R&D testing for Prime Air in the United States, we are submitting this petition for exemption pursuant to Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.”

Interestingly they indicate that they may have already undertaken some testing outdoors in overseas countries.

The overview of their objectives and the reason for Amazon Prime Air is said to be:

“At Amazon, our energy comes from inventing on behalf of customers. Amazon Prime Air, a new delivery system that will get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using aerial vehicles, is one invention we are incredibly passionate about. We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so.”

As far as “exemptions” are concerned the FAA have already granted some commercial ones on a pretty limited basis.

You can download the full amazon petition from the Federal regulations.gov website and, if suitably qualified submit your comments!

We’ll leave you with a rather good runover of Prime Airs progress from Time

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon.

Another 4 for O3b

Yesterday O3b Networks (Other 3 billion), the satellite internet provider, launched another 4 satellites from Arianespace’s French Guiana’s spaceport on flight VS0.courtesy of a Soyuz 2 rocket. These 4 will now go through a period of in-orbit testing before being fully integrated into the O3b network.

We reckon that following the initial launch, just over a year ago, this brings their total to 8. Their next launch is due in early 2015 and we will report back thereafter.

It does look to us as if this venture, already backed, to the extent of over $1.3 billion ( we wonder if they will  aim at $3 billion for symmetry reasons) is commercially sound and could  well be used by Google (who are an investor) in furtherance of their extra terrestrial activities.

We’ll leave you with one of their launch/ promotional videos

Digital Inclusion – the Figures

Just Economics have in conjunction with BT for their Get it together project had a stab at calculating the social value to individuals of going online. They have calculated figures for new, advanced and professional users.

In their words “Digital inclusion, defined as have the skills, motivation and access to go online … is perceived by many to be extremely valuable, not only to individuals, but also to businesses, the state, and society as a whole. The purpose of this paper is to try to put some figures on what being ‘digitally included’ is worth to the individual, i.e. what difference it makes in someone’s life to go from being offline to online and what value can be placed on that change.”

The constituents of the new user valuation are:

The definition of the differing users is:

Much further detail in Eilis Lawlor’s interesting research 

UK Web Award Winners 2014

All the glittering prizes were handed out last night at Nominets’ Internet Awards 2014  which celebrate the internet as a force for good.

Our graphic summarises the winners, runner uppers and highly commendeds which are detailed below:

Category Winner Runner up Highly commended
Innovative internet WriteLatex – Overleaf LawBite -
Online skills & training #Techmums AbilityNet – My Digital Unite
Computer My Way
Making the internet a eCadets Safer internet day Virtually S@fe
safer place 2014
Doing good online CRUK – Citizen FaceDementia Turn2us
Science Programme
Digital innovation - Informed solutions eRedbook Start2
public services Boundary commission

For some reason the Nominet eCadets link is to a YouTube offering rather than their right up to date brand NEW .uk site, which we are proud to display!

Whilst on the topic of domains our analysis shows that the .uk domains underlying the awards come to 57% of the total (4.org.uk, 3.co.uk and 1 .uk) gTLD’s account for  36% (3 .org and 2 .com) with one country code TLD .co. There are no new gTLD’s!

As far as the winners themselves are concerned we were impressed from a very brief look at LawBite (competitively priced legal services for SME’s) and have used and have previously recommended turn2us’s benefits calculator.

Congratulations to all concerned but especially to eCadets for having a NEW .uk domain – they have to be our overall winner!

Here’s their explanatory video:

We’ll leave you with Lawbite’s Introduction Video

LawBite Introduction from LawBite on Vimeo.

How are we all feeling today?

You can now courtesy of Twitters recent acquisition GNIP ( a major provider of social data) Amazon Web Services (AWS) plus a couple of Aussie institutions actually find out at We Feel.

The Australian Institutions are CSIRO  (Australias national science agency)  and the Black Dog Institute (Global pioneers in the management and treatment of mood disorders).

Currently monitoring all worldwide English language tweets in real time they are analysed geographically:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Oceania
  • South America

By emotions (with appropriate colour coding):

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Sadness
  • Surprise
  • Other

You can also analyse by date starting in April this year (although their calendar goes back to before twitter started in 2006!)

They also say “We Feel provides a table builder and a REST API that researchers and developers can access. We hope you try these out, and find new exciting ways to explore and mash-up the data”.


Sources: Gigaom and We Feel

Satellites and Drones and White Spaces

… are possibly the 21st Century version of Trains and Boats and Planes!

Many articles are appearing following the Wall Street Journals exclusive on Google possibly spending $1 billion on satellites to compliment Project Loon. O3B Networks are also allegedly involved.

At the other end of the spectrum so as to speak the Microsoft 4Africa Initiative have been undertaking, comparatively quietly, a project in Kenya aimed at bringing the internet to millions at minimal cost by utilising the spare unused frequencies between broadcast channels (white space).

Bringing the internet to all often concentrates on Africa (and its 58 countries), with its land mass where the internet is unavailable to many. In the overall numbers game Africa’s total population is circa 1.1 billion of which nearly 40% live in South Africa Egypt and Nigeria which have at least some internet structure and availability.

As we have mentioned before nearly 2/3 of the unconnected world are in Asia.

We’ll leave you with Microsoft’s video about their Kenyan venture.


State of the Internet

Mary Meeker  a partner of  Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and ex Morgan Stanley analyst has released her slides of yesterdays presentation at the Code Conference in California.

Whilst numbering 164 in total we strongly recommend a complete viewing as there are many noteworthy exhibits including, we thought in particular, comparisons of the difference between the dotcom boom and the situation today, together with the impact of mobile technology and devices.

(Optional pdf version of the slides)

Whilst much of the research relates to the USA many global perspectives are included together with  macro economic data such as comparative GDP stats for China, Europe, India, USA and Latin America since 1820!

We rather liked her “One More Thing(s)” line and even the Appendix with the fascinating immigration analysis showing that “60% of Top 25 tech companies (by market capitalisation) Founded by 1st and 2nd Second Generation Americans” and that these companies have more than 1.2 million employees is an eye opener. Her definition of Tech companies looks to be remarkably in synch with our own wide interpretation!

Incidentally following yesterdays announcement by Apple  that they are acquiring Beats Music & Beats Electronics for $3 billion there is a rather nice live blog over at Gigaom (scroll to the end for the beginning!)  of Eddy Cue (Apple’s Senior VP of Internet Software and Services) and Jimmy Iovine (co founder of Beats) appearance at this conference to explain the acquisition ending with the comment “…I’ll be really surprised if we see Jimmy Iovine speak on behalf of Apple too often in the future.”

Get an iCon for the IoT

That’s Internet Connectivity for the Internet of Things of course. The iCon (we love the name)  is a recently launched Kickstarter project from Floyd Lau founder of Amptek Technologies Inc which is based just north of Toronto.

The project is a credit card sized single board computer with numerous connectivity options or as he puts it “…an affordable short range wireless platform for people to experiment and to develop their own unique machine-to-machine applications.” “uClinux is the default operating system for the iCon”.

He’s looking to raise $55k (Canadian) for the project and, currently you can sign up for an iCon for starters at $99 (Canadian).

We’ll leave you with his video