Online retail sales heading for a fall

It has long-since been achnowledged that online sales will continue to show significant growth for some years to come – leaving store sales for dust.

Online sales: not good.

But signs are emerging that this saviour of the retail sector is running out of steam for some retailers. According to the recent Martec International ‘IT in Retail Research’ report for BT Expedite two retailers admitted that their online sales will go down as a percentage of total turnover over the next year.

In the seven years that the survey has been undertaken this is the first sign that any retailer has indicated a slowdown and it raises the question of whether e-commerce is starting to top-out for some retailers.

The two companies in question are Maplin and Lakeland who admittedly have high non-store sales of 45% and 30% respectively – but it is still nowhere near the 100% of Asos!

Maplin: it’s all about stores from now on.

There is no escaping the fact that if these two are experiencing such a slowdown then there must be a few others nearing this point of no return for online growth. Among the other 98 surveyed by Martec eight felt their sales would remain static over the next 12 months.

This must be seen as something of a warning sign for merchants who believe their online sales will continue to offset the declining performance of their store estates.

It highlights the fact that for many retailers the online growth train will hit the buffers at some point in the near future and that they need to prepare themselves for the inevitable.