Retailers have been warned they must rethink their digital sales services to capitalise on consumer trends.

Following the release of data on retail sales by the Office for National Statistics, eCommerce consultancy Salmon said that although tills have continued to ring during the summer months, retailers must now ensure online shopping facilities are ready for upcoming peak spending periods.

Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Salmon, said of the new figures: “It’s unsurprising to see online retail experiencing continued year-on-year growth (15.6 percent) as shoppers crave greater convenience in their daily routines.

“However, the sector as a whole should take note that expenditure in food stores and petrol stations were flat, indicating that shoppers were predominantly spending on non-necessity or even luxury goods and services.

“The summer was likely a strong contributor to this as schools were on break and tourism around the country would have been bolstered.

“In the coming months, we are very likely to see a noticeable dip as this kind of spending reduces now that the summer season is over, and uncertainty reigns over Brexit and house prices. At this point, it’s vital the retailers start to look ahead to the next peak trading period and ensure they are ready to capitalise.”

Mr Fletcher said upcoming festivities meant shoppers would continue to spend more, but warned an ever-increasing amount are seeking to do so online.

“Events like Black Friday and Christmas, and increasingly Halloween for some retailers, offer huge opportunities to reap additional gains,” he continued.

“But as consumers look to purchase items they want, not need, a focus on online and innovation will be absolutely paramount – in fact our own research found that 60 percent would more likely shop with ‘digitally innovative’ retailers.

“This is all about accessibility and convenience. The quicker and easier it is to buy from a retailer, the more popular that retailer will be – online, mobile and digital offerings across the board are therefore vital. If retailers can combine a peak period with being the easiest way to shop – they are going to win and the kind of success seen over the summer will continue into autumn and winter.”

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Experienced media professional with over a decade working in Irish journalism. I am a former newspaper editor now helming executive editorial duties with CXM.World, the premier online source for customer experience news, features, and opinion in the MENA region. Along with my previous appointment as editor of the County Antrim Post, I have worked for and contributed to numerous publications and broadcasters within the last ten years, including the Irish News, Irish Times, Daily Mirror, BBC, and more.