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Online retail growth drops by 8.7% Y-o-Y in May

Camilla Rydzek
13 June 2022

Online retail sales growth fell by 8.7% year-on-year in May 2022 as trading conditions continue to be "very tough", even compared to May 2021, when online sales fell by -6%. 

The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks online sales for 200 retailers, said May's results had also disrupted a positive month-to-month growth, decreasing by 0.6% compared to April.

At a category level, clothing's performance had been "strong" with sales rising by 14% overall. The health and beauty category saw one of the worst performances seeing a 28% dip.

Overall IMRG reported that website traffic was up 8% year-on-year, although customers were taking longer to decide on a purchase, according to retailers.

The Average Basket Value, meanwhile, increased since January 2022, reaching an average £151 value. IMRG attributed this to a number of factors including inflation, customers ordering multiple items to avoid delivery fees, and a preference for higher quality items.

Bhavesh Unadkat, Head of Brand and Content, Capgemini commented on the above that throughout May "countering what you might expect as pockets tighten" sales performance of  budget retailers had reduced by 15%, with mid-market retailers being the only category to see a modest growth, of 0.5%. "This definitely lends weight to the speculation that consumers are seeking out longer-lasting quality in their goods,” he added.

Throughout May performance varied week to week, with a slight boost over the Jubilee weekend that might be due to people purchasing "patriotic clothing" among other items.

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG: “There’s no dressing it up, May’s performance was pretty awful online. April’s results suggested growth might be flat, but it is clear now that the economic situation is having a deep impact on demand; if it wasn’t for the Jubilee, which produced a slightly better week than the others, the decline might have been double-digit against negative growth for the same month last year.

"The one bright area is clothing. It seems to be a category making up for lost time, following almost flat growth in 2020; could be that it is now simply benefiting from the increased number of people shopping online, combined with a general sense among the UK public that the pandemic is over and they can go out as they please again.”

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