Online retailers enjoyed a fruitful Christmas period, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), with sales of non-food products rising 15.1% in December.
The rise compares with December 2014, when online sales had grown by less than half that figure (7%). It was the best performance since June.
The BRC said that online sales accounted for 19.7% of all non-food sales in December, up from 17.3% in 2013, meaning that nearly £1 in every £5 spent by consumers in December was spent online.
Toys & Baby Equipment was the second fastest growing category and achieved its best performance since June. This was followed closely by Furniture and Homewares, the latter grew at its fastest rate since the inception of this monitor in December 2012.
Online sales contributed 3.0 percentage points to the year-on-year growth of Non-Food total sales in December, the highest on record, while stores made a negative contribution.
Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “This was very much an online Christmas with this channel playing a vital role in driving retail sales in December. Growth was up 15.1%, ahead of its 3-month and 12-month averages of 12.3 and 12.4% respectively, and December’s online penetration rate was the second highest of 2015, at 19.7%, up from 17.3% the same time last year. The proportion of online spend was up across all categories we measure with household appliances, footwear and furniture leading the way. Over the three months to December, online contributed 2.5 percentage points to UK non-food growth overall, confirming this channel as the key driver of growth. In fact, store sales were in reverse."