A huge divide in fortunes existed between online retailers and high street stores over Christmas, data released today shows.
The latest monthly spending data from Barclaycard found that consumer spending was up 4% between November 22 and December 26.
The increase was driven almost solely by online, which saw the biggest annual increase since April 2012, jumping 17.9%. Meanwhile, in-store spending lagged behind with only a slight 0.2% increase.
Overall clothing performance was sluggish, up 1.2%, stunted by a 3.6% drop in high street spend despite a 14.6% jump in online sales.
Sales of women’s clothing increased 3.3% while menswear jumped 24.3%. Barclaycard added that the warmer weather delayed many from updating their winter wardrobes.
Department stores were the only bright spot on the high street, with in-store spend up 4.5%, but this was still eclipsed by online spend, up 18%. Overall department store spend grew 7.2%.
The tracker’s period includes Black Friday, when online spending recorded its highest growth since April 2012, up 24.6%, accounting for a quarter of total spend.
Barclaycard chief operating officer Chris Wood said the data underlines the key shopping trends of 2015.
“The large spikes in spending, centred around Sales days like Black Friday, emphasise consumers’ increasing search for value as they hold back their spending until the best deals emerge,” he said.
“Likewise, whilst online shopping has grown in popularity throughout the year, the strength of consumer preference for digital over the high street was seen in full effect over the Christmas period. As retailers continue to release their Christmas trading updates we expect many to reflect these changing behaviours.
“Looking ahead to 2016, it will be interesting to see where UK consumers choose to spend their money, and how the continuing shift towards the purchasing of experiences and services, as opposed to goods, develops and what that will mean for the retail sector.”