In the latest monthly online retail sales monitor from trade association British Retail Consortium (BRC) and professional services company KPMG, online sales growth is within touching distance of offline commerce.

Online sales contributed 1.6% to the rise of non-food sales in July and over the last three months that figure was almost as much as brick and mortar stores’ 1.8%. The BRC stated that it was online’s highest contribution of 2014 so far.

For non-food products in the UK, the BRC recorded a 14.9% increase in year-on-year online sales for July 2014, a higher growth period than the year before which posted gains of 7.9%.

Pinch of salt

Suggestions have been made by Helen Dickinson, director general at the BRC, that this July’s online sales figures are more than they might be because of seasonal effects that were unique to last summer.

“July has seen good online growth and, for non-food products, one in every six pounds is now spent online,” Dickinson said.

“The figures are somewhat flattered this July as last year online activity was low due to successful sporting activities attracting people to other types of screens.”

The BRC also notes that the use of mobile and tablets in conjunction with more sophisticated websites and click and collect services are helping to fuel a more prevalent online sales increase this year.

Sofas out front

Furniture was leading the pack with growth of 28.7% in July this year. Meanwhile on the end of the scale, footwear performed the worst of all in the online non-food sales categories that were mentioned in the BRC’s data.

Along with Facebook, KPMG’s head of retail, David McCorquodale thinks other companies have been looking to boost sales during the sun-filled weather where purchases traditionally slump as consumers head outdoors.

“Despite the glorious sunshine, retailers managed to capture shoppers’ attention online through the use of targeted and innovative digital campaigns, linking products to holiday plans, festivals and sporting events taking place across the UK,” he said.