Online retail sales continue to boom despite reopenings

Even as the high street came out of hibernation last month, June’s online retail sales spiked to a 12-year high of +33.9% YoY, according to IMRG Capgemini’s Online Retail Index.

It revealed that last month’s acceleration in online sales was underpinned by the “continued success” of almost every category.

Electrical sales saw the largest increase – up +99.7% YoY. Meanwhile, with pubs still closed beer, wine and spirit sales increased by +79.9% YoY.

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In a “further nod towards shifting consumer habits”, IMRG found that health and beauty sales were also up +72.8% YoY – untouched by the reopening of their physical counterparts.

However, demand in clothing failed to return as lockdown eased, with sales falling by -6.5% YoY. This decline was underscored by poor performances in footwear, womenswear and menswear – down -18.4%, -15.1% and -10.7% respectively.

Examining the retailers by type, sales in June were overwhelmingly driven by multichannel sellers. Continuing the trend from March, multichannel retailers recorded far higher growth for the fifth consecutive month over their online only counterparts, with sales up +51.7% versus +10.0%.

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant – Retail Insight, said: “Online sales have continued to go from strength to strength in June, albeit at a slower rate than last month. Clothing, is the only sector to have remained in negative YOY results online, with footwear down -18%, womenswear down –15%, perhaps surprising as we might expect to see a resurgence in fashion due to pent up demand as restrictions ease.

“The persistent increase in e-commerce will likely translate into new habits that will continue as we transition out of lockdown, however this is expected to be at lower levels than we have seen during the lockdown period.”

She added: “As the weeks continue, we will see if we have reached the turning point in online sales growth and which behaviours are here to stay as spending starts to revert to a ‘new normal’.”

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