Online sales growth slows in August


Online sales across all categories fell by 4.1% from July to August, but remain up 43.5% year-on-year.

No.10, led by its scientists and unchecked by the media, continues to exert terrifying control over the population with its relentless promotion of only the most frightening statistics and apocalyptic forecasts.


Thankfully, treasury officials in No.11 Downing Street have put a gentle thumb on the other side of the scales, and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has encouraged people out from behind their sofas and onto local high streets.

Interestingly, high street retailers not only saw sales rise in their stores in August, they also grew their ecommerce sales faster than pure play ecommerce retailers.

IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index says that, as the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative drove people back to the high street, multichannel retailers outshone their online-only counterparts – recording growth of 70.5% YoY compared to +11.4%.

As summer comes to a close, we have seen a slowdown in the growth online and we expect to see some shifts in the category spending as we move into autumn. In particular, clothing seems to be returning to positive growth, boosted by the return to school and offices as well as further mobility, however this may not be enough to capture the total lost sales during the summer pandemic period,” says Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant – Retail Insight, Capgemini.

“The disrupted seasonal trends, and higher proportion of spend online has had a disproportionate impact on retailers without diverse product ranges or a strong online offering, and challenges in planning and supply chain. Retailers will need to remain reactive and innovative to prepare for the upcoming months; Government incentives have worked well to ignite spending on the high street, so with low consumer confidence and ongoing economic uncertainty, the discounting period around Black Friday could prove to be significant to regain sales. As many consumers have now shifted online we can also expect a significant growth in e-commerce during the festive period.”

As retailers look towards the crucial pre-Christmas 4th quarter, IMRG is struggling to see trends for whether physical stores will continue to improve sales, of ecommerce will continue to outperform prior years.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, suggests: “Now that we are coming out of summer, all attention is inevitably focused on the Black Friday and Christmas period. The big question is just how big Black Friday will be online this year. With most types of business open again, and people being actively encouraged by the Government to return to their offices, are we starting to see some signs of online and offline sales balancing out again?

“The evidence has a big caveat as, while it’s true that the August rate of growth was a bit lower than it had been over the past three months, it doesn’t necessarily mean online growth is slowing down. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme ran through August and had a big take-up, bringing people back to the high street. Now that is finished, will they stay there, or has behaviour evolved more fundamentally than that?”

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