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


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
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
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers