Online retail sales up 33.9% in June despite stores reopening

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According to the latest data from IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, online retail sales growth skyrocketed by +33.9% year-on-year (YoY) in June – a 12-year high, surpassing the previous month’s growth to become the highest annual result since March 2008.

The results showed little impact from the reopening of the high street – building on May’s sharp rise to record further growth of +3.5% month-on-month (MoM).

Almost all categories continued to see a significant increase in sales, excluding clothing and its subcategories.

The gap in performance between online-only and multichannel retailers continued to widen, with the latter recording over five times the growth of the former (+51.7% versus +10%).

Leading the pack, electrical sales saw the largest increase – up a staggering +99.7% YoY. And, in a further nod towards shifting consumer habits, health and beauty sales were also up +72.8% YoY – untouched by the reopening of their physical counterparts.

Unfortunately, demand in clothing failed to return as lockdown eased, with sales falling by -6.5% YoY. This decline was underscored by poor performances in footwear, womenswear and menswear – down -18.4%, -15.1% and -10.7% respectively.

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant at Retail Insight, Capgemini, said: “Online sales have continued to go from strength to strength in June. Clothing, is the only sector to have remained in negative YoY results online, with footwear down -18%, and womenswear down -15%, perhaps surprising as we might expect to see a resurgence in fashion due to pent up demand as restrictions ease.

“The persistent increase in ecommerce will likely translate into new habits that will continue as we transition out of lockdown. However, this is expected to be at lower levels than we have seen during the lockdown period. As the weeks continue, we will see if we have reached the turning point in online sales growth and which behaviours are here to stay as spending starts to revert to a ‘new normal’.”

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, added: “In June, growth for online retail sales was at a rate we’ve not seen since 2008, even with the shops open for half of it. So, initially at least, online has proven resilient to the reopening of the high street.

“However, as of 4 July, people now have more options for how to spend their money as pubs, restaurants and other leisure spaces have opened.”

The IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.