Online retail sales post slowest growth on record


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  • Online retail sales fell 19.8% yoy last month – the index’s weakest growth in 21 years
  • Although monthly sales increased by 40.4%, this figure is significantly lower than the 50% growth expected for this time of year.
  • November’s result is slightly below the 3-month (-14.97%) and 6-month (-12.64%) averages, but significantly below the 12-month average (+ 6.30%)
  • Every category, bar clothing, saw negative double-digit decline

As the threat of the Christmas lockdown prompted consumers to leave their homes to socialize and shop last month, online retail sales recorded their weakest growth on record – falling 19.8% year-on-year annual.

It is according to the last Capgemini IMRG Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of more than 200 retailers. While this compares to a strong November 2020 (+ 36.2%), the monthly numbers (MoM) were also negative – showing an increase of just 40.4% against the 50% that would typically be expected in October. to November. Time range.

Digging deeper into the results, there is evidence that consumers buy less often and spend less when they do, with a conversion rate down 20% year-on-year to 3.3% and an average cart value ( ABV) falling to £ 123 (compared to 2021). peak of £ 149). With sales on the rise in department stores, it may not come as a surprise that among the types of retailers, it was the multi-channel brands that suffered the most – with their sales falling 23.4% versus only -13.4% for online-only retailers.

Meanwhile, all bar clothing categories saw double-digit negative declines – with giveaways in particular dropping 46.4%. In a month where before Black friday spending would be concentrated on electricity, this category recorded the second lowest result at -29.2%.

According to Lucy Gibbs, Management Consultant – Retail Lead for Analytics & AI, Capgemini:

“The drop in online sales this year is not unexpected. However, monthly figures suggest that overall spending has been even more subdued. Multi-channel retailers were the hardest hit, down 23.4%, but online-only retailers also suffered, down 13.4% due to lower overall online traffic.

“While a return to in-person shopping took a large portion of the expense, other factors such as supplier shortages and delivery interruptions also caused retailers to release and dilute some of the offerings, which could be at the origin of the decrease in conversion of 20%. % in November.

Adds Andy Mulcahy, Director of Strategy and Insight, IMRG:

“In retail, we often tend to focus on the negative aspects, but we have to admit that the performance in November was very poor. The most concerning thing was that traffic was the problem, buyers just weren’t visiting retailer sites in their usual volumes. To some extent, this could be explained by people returning to department stores, but the next few weeks will be very interesting in that regard.

“There seems to be a ‘get it in before we’re locked up’ attitude right now, but as of next week people won’t want to go anywhere to avoid having to self-isolate over Christmas. We’re going to be, from a retail perspective, in all-out lockdown, which will really skew the trading numbers. ”

Chris Price

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