Online sales up by 51.6% in August on last year, but dip 2.5% month-on-month as retail recovers from Covid-19 lockdown - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Online sales up by 51.6% in August on last year, but dip 2.5% month-on-month as retail recovers from Covid-19 lockdown


Online sales grew by 51.6% year-on-year in August, but dipped by 2.5% compared to July as the rest of retail continues to recover from Covid-19, the latest official figures suggest. Sectors including clothing appear to be suffering from the longer-term effects of the pandemic. Overall, ecommerce appears to be retaining much of the growth that it achieved during lockdown, although sales have decreased slightly from July in most categories.


Across all sales channels, shoppers spent more on retail transactions in August than they did in pre-pandemic February as retail returned to year-on-year growth following the coronavirus outbreak, according to today’s ONS Retail Sales report for August, Retail sales also grew in August compared to a year earlier as shoppers spent 4.4% more to buy 4.3% more goods, excluding petrol and diesel. They spent 0.4% more than the previous month, to buy 0.6% more goods, again excluding fuel.


How shoppers bought online in August

Online sales grew strongly in August compared to the same time last year across all categories, but sales were down compared to July in all but two categories. The ONS says in today’s report that the month-on-month decline online may be because more businesses reopened from July, including restaurants and bars. This may have affected food sales as shoppers chose to eat out instead of cooking at home, and the ONS found that footfall was also down at more than half (51.5%) of food shops in two weeks of August compared to what they’d normally expect.


Overall, 28.1% of UK retail sales took place online during the month, as ecommerce grew by 51.6% compared to last year but dipped by 2.5% compared to July 2020. In July, 28.9% of sales were online, and in June 31.8% of sales took place online, having reached a peak of 33.3% in May. In February, 19.6% of sales took place online.


Online food sales continued to be well ahead of last August (+89.5%) but were 4.6% down on July. Some 10.4% of UK food sales were online in August. That’s up from 5.4% in February.


Almost a quarter (24.5%) of non-food sales took place online last month, with sales up by 58.2% on the same time last year but down by 2.6% compared to July.


Department stores saw 29.3% of sales take place online in August, with ecommerce sales up by 63.5% on last year, and down by 0.6% compared to July. And in non-store retailing, where 81.9% of sales took place online, sales grew by 38.4% compared to last year, and fell by 1.6% compared to last month. At ‘other stores’, a category that includes electricals, 19.2% of sales took place online, with sales up by 73.9% on last year but down by 16.5% on last month.


Two categories saw online sales rise on both last year and last month. In clothing, footwear and textiles, online sales accounted accounted for 29.2% of sales and were up by 33.1% on last year and by 5.4% on last month. At household goods stores, 23% of sales were online, following year-on-year growth of 79.4% and month-on-month growth of 5.7%.


How August compares to pre-pandemic spending

February was the last full month where retail sales were not affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The comparisons that the ONS makes between August and February may give useful insights into how spending has changed compared to the pre-pandemic normal.


In August, retail sales across all channels, and including fuel sales, were up by 2.5% in value and by 4% in volume compared to February. Spending on home improvements rose as shoppers bought 9.9% more goods from household goods stores compared to February.


Non-store sales volumes – which mostly take place online via pureplay retailers – were 38.9% above February, the ONS figures suggest. “This,” it says in today’s report, “was driven by a shift to online orders during lockdown because of temporary store closures for non-essential stores. As a result, all non-food stores experienced a sharp decline in April, with signs of recovery from May to August 2020.” However, clothing retailers continue to feel the pain of lockdown, with August sales across all channels still 15.9% below February levels, and 85.7% of clothing stores reporting a fall in footfall in August compared to what they’d normally expect for the time of the year.


via September 18, 2020 at 06:56AM by Chloe Rigby, Khareem Sudlow,