Online retail maintains strong start to the year

by | Mar 10, 2021 | News | 0 comments

With the strict lockdown still in place, online retail sales held strong in February, rising by +69.5% Year-on-Year (YoY). That’s according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.

Though falling a little short of January’s recording-breaking +74% growth, February’s figures were still significantly higher than the rolling averages of three, six and 12 months (+57.1% +42.5% and +42.7%, YoY respectively).

Breaking the results down further, the positive picture was reflected across all categories, but there were some stand out performers. As the UK Government announced a roadmap out of lockdown and consumers started preparing for greater outdoor freedoms, both beer, wine & spirits and home & garden saw huge spikes in sales, recording monthly gains of +64.7% and +131% YoY.

After a tough 2020, clothing sales also continued last month’s upward trend (+21.3%) and even footwear – the subcategory worst hit by the pandemic – reported growth of +8%. In fact, in the week of the announcement, this rose to +46.7% as consumers looked forward to stepping out of their slippers and back into ‘normality’.

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant – Retail Insight, Capgemini: “February growth remains strong (+69.8%) as we near a full year since the pandemic closed the high street for the first time. Online growth has been highest in this third national lockdown; however as we approach the year-on-year comparisons against the swings of 2020 we are likely to see some interesting metrics play out over the next few months.

“For example, electricals and home & garden, up 158% and 131% in February, have seen unprecedented growth figures since the pandemic began. This will mean that even if there is continued strong demand in these categories, we are likely to see swings to the negative compared to last year. 

“On the positive side of things, pent up demand will benefit sectors such as clothing where spending has been low throughout the pandemic. Increased reasons to refresh wardrobes and social events making their way back on to the calendar will also provide a much-needed boost and hopefully a strong performance for 2021. We are already starting to see revival in this category (up 21.9% in February); the change in season and the lockdown easing roadmap has put a spring in the step for clothing and footwear sales this month.”

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG: “It’s become common for people to look for the ‘new normal’ across industries, but it might be too early to be focusing on that. Instead, it is more useful to think of a ‘current normal’ as things are still so unpredictable and susceptible to sudden shifts in customer behaviour. For example – even though there is a roadmap out of lockdown and the vaccination programme is going well, it’s difficult to anticipate exactly how people will behave as restrictions are eased.

“The ‘current normal’ in retail is for sustained pandemic-high growth rates across almost every product category. During lockdown one (22 Mar-15 Jun), the average rate of growth was +47%; for lockdown three (27 Dec-now) it is +74%. That rate of growth cannot be sustained once we get into April, but the extent to which spend will be diverted strongly away to ‘experience’ options such as travel, going out, live events etc. is a very tough question to answer.”

more latest news ➡

Mike Burks awarded GCA Honorary member

GCA inducts Mike Burks as honorary member

Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, which owns Castle Gardens in Sherborne, Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil and Poundbury Gardens near Dorchester, has been awarded Honorary Membership of the Garden Centre Association (GCA). Presented by GCA...

Greenfingers

The GCA Conference digs deep for the Greenfingers Charity

The recent Garden Centre Association (GCA) conference was not only an informative and educational event, but it also featured a lot of fundraising for the garden retail sector’s adopted charities, including Greenfingers. In fact, delegates dug so deep into their...

Andy Hannan joins Dobbies as Commercial Director

Dobbies appoints Andy Hannan as Commercial Director

Dobbies, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, has appointed Andy Hannan as Commercial Director. With extensive experience from across the retail sector, Andy will lead the delivery of Dobbies’ commercial strategy as it enters its new financial year. Andy has...

retail sales slow

Retail sales slow as high cost of living enters third year

UK Total retail sales increased by 1.2% year on year in January, against a growth of 4.2% in January 2023. This was above the 3-month average growth of 1.9% and below the 12-month average growth of 3.4%. Food sales increased 6.3% year on year over the three months...

Bells Horticultural acquires Peter Beales Roses

Bells Horticultural acquires Peter Beales Roses 

Bells Horticultural, a distinguished family-run enterprise with a rich heritage in horticulture, proudly announces the acquisition of the celebrated Peter Beales Roses business. This strategic move solidifies Bells Horticultural's commitment to preserving and...

New GRIDSERVE hub at Dobbies Edinburgh

Dobbies Edinburgh opens GRIDSERVE Electric Retail Hub

The latest GRIDSERVE Electric Retail Hub has opened at Dobbies Edinburgh, as part of a long term partnership between the charging company and garden centre to increase the number of High Power charging locations across the UK. Dobbies Edinburgh, located in...

Read GCR's latest edition!
Read GCR's latest Made in Britain Supplement!

Subscribe ToThe Wednesday Word

Subscribe To
The Wednesday Word

 

Get all the latest news, events & more straight to your inbox every Wednesday.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This