Nov 17, 2020
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November e-sales surge so far, spike seen before latest lockdown started

Nov 17, 2020

The latest English lockdown has seen consumers reverting to some of their e-shopping habits of earlier in the year and on Tuesday, a report said that online sales soared 61% in the first week of November.

Online shopping was already rising fast before the English lockdown began - Photo: Public domain/Pixabay

It was the strongest year-on-year growth since June and also the fourth-highest growth rate so far this year. But it’s interesting that the surge was so big given that non-essential stores weren’t forced to close until November 5, although news that they would have to do so was released on October 31.

November always features high volumes of online orders as people start to think about Christmas gifts and retailers switch on Black Friday discounts during the month. But such an early surge hasn’t happened before.

And while the lockdown was clearly a catalyst, the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index report added that the increase was also “a clear sign that Christmas and Black Friday shopping has been pulled forward”.

Stores have launched their Black Friday campaigns earlier this year and it’s something of a chicken-and-egg situation with retailers getting their Black Friday campaigns up and running early anyway, as well as intensifying them in reaction to the lockdown.

Of the 320 retailers IMRG is monitoring, it said that on 11 November, 11.6% had a campaign live vs 3.6% for the same day in 2019.

IMRG’s MD Justin Opie said: “In contrast to some of the more pessimistic forecasting around Black Friday sales that seems to be emerging, this impressive growth indicates that November is well on track to be a record-breaking month for online retail. It is important to remember that whilst Black Friday is still the peak shopping day of the year, its standalone significance is waning as Black Friday has evolved into a month-long sales period. Good news for retailers trying to manage this high demand.”

And Strategy and Insight Director Andy Mulcahy added: “Circumstances appear to be conspiring to make November a very big month for online sales. Black Friday week always is, but this year there was a need to encourage shoppers to do the bulk of their online purchasing a bit earlier, so we can avoid heavy backlogs and delays in proximity to Christmas. The fact that people have responded so strongly early in November is very positive in that respect, as it’s best to experience potentially overwhelming volumes now so it can all be processed well in advance of Christmas.”

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