UK online sales rise continued in July, even fashion edged up
It said e-sales rose 28.3% year-on-year last month, although they fell 10% compared to June. That was understandable given consumers now had access to physical non-essential shops for the first time in three months.
What may on the surface have been more surprising is that online sales growth for clothing was positive for the first time since lockdown (+0.6%), although perhaps this could be explained by consumers having more occasions to dress for now but still being unwilling to venture into physical shops. The highest weekly growth since lockdown was seen in the first week of July for womenswear (+16%) and the third week for menswear (+24%).
The ORI also said that last month saw multichannel retailers continuing to outperform online-only, recording a rise of 45% vs 8.4%, as consumers shopped from their favourite physical retailers online.
The index tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers and looking more deeply into the figures, it found that the year-on-year growth strengthened as the month wore on as physical retail was nowhere near back to normal.
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% week-on-week drop in the amount spent online compared to the week previous; quite a sharp decline and indicative that people did divert some spend.
“In the week commencing 12 July, YoY growth (compared to the same week in 2019) 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.”
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