eCommerce & High Street Sales Trends – The Case for Total Retail

Posted by Tim

Online sales continue to increase while high street sales fall. Highlighting yet again that retailers need to think about their revenue channels in a holistic sense. Not so much omnichannel as total retail.

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Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass (flicker)

eCommerce sales grow 13.7% year on year

According to the latest research by The Office for National Statistics UK eCommerce sales continue to grow. In February 2018, eCommerce sales accounted for 17.2% of all retail compared with 15.6% in February 2017, with total online sales increasing 13.7% year on year.

Average spending online increased in February to £1,230.2 million weekly compared with the £1,193 million in January. The report also noted that although the sector is continuing to grow, the rate of eCommerce growth is slowing.

There is, of course, significant variation between companies. During the same period, ThoughtShift retail clients saw an average 43% year on year growth in online sales - 3 times more than the UK average.

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Photo credit: Rayand (flickr)

High street gloom continues

Meanwhile, more data published on April 11th 2018, this time from a study by The Local Data Company for PwC tells us that while an average of 11 new stores opened on the high street every day in 2017 another 16 closed. That’s 5,855 store closures. Fashion and footwear were hardest hit along with ice cream shops, cafes and bookshops – increasingly a form of posh café that sell books alongside drinks and cake, and coffee shops were replacing them. It seems that social spaces are replacing shops through the emergence of a café culture.

So, in short, people are spending less on the high street and more online. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in retail. We already know that the most valuable customers tend to shop across physical stores and online. While some online shoppers will be driven in store either to pick up their click and collect order or carry out the complete transaction, others will be inspired by what they see and otherwise experience in store and then purchase online at their leisure. Your shop window is still your shop window, but your till well maybe online.

What is important is that customers thinking about buying can find you easily without being distracted or diverted by your competitors.

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