Online retail sales witnessed a “sharp decline” of 10% in July, according to the latest figures from IMRG’s online sales index.
The data group said the decline followed a shift in consumer spending patterns as the hospitality sector reopened throughout the month.
While online sales fell by 10% in the week commencing 5 July, sales returned to growth the following week, however, rising by 27% year-on-year.
In the total month period, online retail sales remained “strong”, rising 28.3% against the year prior.
Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, said: “When non-essential stores reopened in mid- June, there was no discernible impact on online retail demand. On 4 July, we saw a lot more options become available for people to spend their money – pubs, restaurants, theme parks and, most importantly here, holidays.
“In the week commencing 5 July there was a 10% decline week-on-week in the amount spent online compared to the week previous; quite a sharp decline and indicative that people did divert some spend.”
He added: “In the week commencing 12 July, year-on-year growth was up 27%, still incredibly strong but the lowest rate recorded since April. So, was this the start of a slowdown in online sales? Possibly not.
“Since then, the extension of quarantine rules forced many to cancel holidays and the last week of July saw growth rates go up again. The difficulties some business sectors are having in coming out of lockdown may mean online retail growth remains very high over a longer period.”
Capgemini’s managing consultant, Lucy Gibbs, added: “The increased options for purchasing and opening up of social and leisure activities has triggered a shift in spending patterns amongst consumers.
“As we navigate the next few months it is crucial that retailers are able to continue to enhance the experience both online and in store to meet changing needs and emerging challenges that are facing the retail landscape.”