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“In 2016, more than one million people bought things online from the UK, the biggest year-on-year increase in the past five years. Now with Brexit, the numbers are likely to rise even further. We are already starting to see the benefits in the shape of record online growth in the services sector.”
“We also expect Brexit to cause the number of online shoppers in the UK to increase by up to 10 per cent next year and will see that trend continue into next year,” added Mr Smeaton.
GETTY The number of online shoppers is expected to rise in line with the number of shoppers in stores
“There are also indications that in future online sales will contribute significantly more to the value of retailers’ business as they are likely to be able to offer goods in a wider variety of size, format and price.
“In addition, with more sales happening online, retailers can also afford to offer lower prices on some items, which can encourage the sale of larger goods, which could result in lower cost for the consumer. The new approach, as well as the growth in online sales, should lead to a reduction in the number of stores in the retail sector in the coming years.”
A recent study by consultancy firm Deloitte estimated that online sales have increased by 50% in the UK since the start of the year, accounting for 16% of all retail sales.
However, the online sales are largely made by companies that have yet to establish retail presence, so it is unclear whether this number will increase.
As for a possible increase in the retail sector’s size, the Government report cited an analysis by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) that suggests the online sales may be up to 50% of all sales. But the BRC also points out that while the data used is relatively new, it is not subject to the same level of analysis as conventional retail.