A boost in online trading stopped a fall in retail sales in December, the British Retail Consortium has said.

While shops had their third worst month of 2012 an increase in online trading helped retailers have a flat Christmas performance.

Figures show that retail sales were up just 1.5 per cent compared with last year: that’s 0.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Online sales increased 17.8 per cent, which is the fastest growth since December 2011 when they rose by 18.5 per cent.

“Strongest online sales”

Director General of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson, said: “This is by far the strongest online sales showing this year and marks a real return to form after momentum dipped in the previous few months.

“Online retail still accounts for a relatively small part of total sales, but in December it played a disproportionately larger role in driving non-food sales.

“Many valued the ease and convenience of shopping online during the Christmas period.  The surging popularity of tablets and smart phones giving even better access is a major factor.

“Shoppers take advantage of the investment many retailers have made in making their websites easier to use across multiple devices, in flexibility of delivery options as click-and-collect came of age and in security – they now feel much more comfortable putting their credit card numbers into their mobile phones.”

The total growth in December did not beat inflation: it’s only on a par with December 2010, when bad weather placed sales volumes on ice for much of the month.

Invest in online marketing

What these figures show is that online sales are increasingly important to retailers.  Retailers need to invest in online marketing to ensure that their products and services are found online.

Look at your website, your Social Media profiles and your online advertising.  Are you presenting a consistent brand image online; are you keeping your online content up-to-date?

If you feel you need some help with your online marketing then Infoserve can help you.  A UK leader in online marketing solutions for SMEs, Infoserve has a portfolio of products that can help your business get found online.

To find out more, contact Infoserve now.

http://metro.co.uk/2013/01/08/christmas-retail-sales-live-up-to-low-expectations-3343260/