Figures from the ONS show that retail sales fell 1.4% in the first three months of 2017. Average store prices increased by 3.3%, representing the largest growth since 2012.
The first quarter of 2017 is the third consecutive period of negative growth.
However, online sales increased year-on-year by 19.5%.
Retailers can no longer shun the truth that shoppers crave a more immediate, reliable and digitally driven experience
This represents an average weekly spend of £1 billion on online purchases, which accounted for 15.5% of all retail spending (excluding automotive fuel).
“The figures continue to show the decline in traditional bricks and mortar stores as retailers endured the biggest quarterly fall in seven years during the first three months of the year,” Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Salmon, said.
“Retailers can no longer shun the truth that shoppers crave a more immediate, reliable and digitally driven experience.”
Online card spending up
A separate study by the UK Cards Association reports that online card spending totalled £422 million a day in 2016. This is an increase of 28% since 2014.
A quarter of card purchases online are for entertainment purchases such as concert tickets.
The association states that the UK now spends more online per household than any other country.
Retailers must too embrace the change in shopping habits and feed consumers’ desire for convenient online shopping
“Since the early days of internet shopping there has been a host of innovations, from digital wallets to one click purchases, which bring enhanced security, choice and convenience for customers and which will lead to continued growth in the sector,” Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association said.
“The additional protection provided when using a card also gives consumers extra peace of mind when they are shopping online.”
The research shows that online spending is dominated by certain sectors:
– 37% of the total spent on travel
– 23% of clothing purchases
– 67% of concert tickets and 61% of cinema tickets
Hugh Fletcher continued:
“A shift towards a strong digital strategy is the first step in combatting the decline in the high-street but retailers must increasingly test and embrace innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality changing rooms and Zero UI (the move away from physical interactions in favour of sound, movement and other senses).
“As consumers shift online, retailers must too embrace the change in shopping habits and feed consumers’ desire for convenient online shopping or face the dark prospect of poor sales, profit slumps and sluggish growth.”