Olympic action 'distracted people from online shopping'

Online shopping: hit by the distraction of the Olympics in August
Online shopping: hit by the distraction of the Olympics in August

Online sales had their worst month in four years of records in August as the Olympic Games distracted people from shopping, according to the British Retail Consortium.

The BRC-KPMG Retail Monitor put online's growth at 4.8% for the month, which was the lowest since the monitor started collecting online sales data in October 2008.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said both online and bricks-and-mortar sales suffered as "people were absorbed by the magnificent Olympics and had little interest in shopping".

Robertson claimed that fewer people than usual were shopping online in the evening.

He said: "Some retailers told us online activity was particularly thin in the evenings. If people weren't watching television, they were more likely to be following the sport on PCs and mobile devices than shopping."

Total retail sales growth of 1.6% and like-for-like growth of minus 0.4% were the lowest figures since November 2011, excluding an April figure "distorted by Easter timings".

The hardest-hit categories were women’' clothing, furniture, flooring and home-related items, according to KPMG head of retail Helen Dickinson.

However, Dickinson expressed relief that the figures were not worse, adding, "August is traditionally a weak month for sales and it's really the next three months that will have a critical impact on retailers' profitability."

The BRC figures echo last week's GfK consumer confidence index, which showed no boost from the Olympics between July and August, with consumers remaining pessimistic about their personal finances.

More positive, at least for grocers, was yesterday's data from Nielsen on supermarket sales during the four weeks ending 18 August.

Nielsen put the 3.5% year-on-year growth down to the Olympics and better weather. It claimed "sharing" food categories had a strong performance, with soft drinks up 8% in volume, confectionery up 6% and crisps/snacks up 6%.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, said: "Although promotional activity has remained unchanged at 35% of FMCG sales, the continual use of money-off vouchers and coupons has marked a different approach by retailers this summer.

"Tesco, in particular, had some very attractive offers during July and August, which will have helped to increase the frequency of shoppers' visits."


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer