Retail sales figures in the UK have suffered the biggest quarterly drop since 2010.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that sales volumes in the first three months of 2017 have fallen 1.4 percent, the third consecutive decrease and the biggest quarterly drop in the past seven years.
Some sectors are doing ok despite the overall fall as textile, clothing and footwear stores seeing sales volume increase by 19 percent. The largest decreases were in household goods stores and fuel, which saw declines of 3.3 percent and 3.1 percent. This is down to rising prices across the board, facilitated by a weak pound since the Brexit vote.
Kate Davies, ONS senior statistician said:
“Today’s retail sales figures show a decline on the month and on the three months to March, which coincides with quarter 1 in 2017. This is the first time we’ve seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors.”
The fall in retail spending means the UK will be entering a period of much weaker consumer spending growth, which will drag on the progress of the UK economy according to PwC’s senior economic adviser Andrew Sentence. He said:
“This is the clearest indication yet that the expected slowdown in the UK economy has begun, and we should expect to see this confirmed in other economic data over the next few months.”
However, one area of retail is faring exceptionally well – online. The average weekly spending online in March was £1bn, an increase of 19.5 percent when compared with last year.
Online shopping now amounts for a total of 15.5 percent of all retail spending, except for fuel, which is a rise from last year’s figures of 13.6 percent.
Timeline for Consumers
- March 21, 2017
As well, according to a report by the UK Cards Association, online shoppers in the UK spend more per household than consumers in any other country. UK households spent in average $5,900 using payment cards online, higher than the likes of Norway, which averaged $5,400, and the US, about $4,500.
Brits are choosing to shop for entertainment online, which includes concert tickets and takeaways, as these purchases accounted for one in four online transactions in the UK.
As a result of all these online transactions, cyber security is improving to ensure that shoppers are safe when browsing online.
Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said:
shopping one click