‘Higher sales driven by online shopping’ – not so!

This article in The Guardian is typical of what you get in the media.  It’s sloppy.   It reads “UK retail sales jumped far more than economists expected in May, supporting hopes that a modest economic recovery is gaining momentum.  The volume of sales rose 1.9% compared with a year earlier, and 2.1% compared with April, largely driven higher by internet shopping, according to the Office for National Statistics” (my italics).   But online shopping is simply a means buying goods – it of itself does not ‘drive’ anything.  What drives consumers is their needs, disposable income, propensity to spend, or confidence.  If they are buying more through the online channel that’s interesting, but not a driver.

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