Online retail sales fell at their highest rate in history last month despite overall spending remaining high amid fears the online boom could be coming to an end.

June saw online retail sales fall to record breaking lows dropping 14.1 per cent year-on-year throughout the month, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index.

While the steep drop was partially due to tough year-on-year comparatives, having seen e-commerce growth hit a 12-year high in 2020, month-on-month comparisons were also well below pre-pandemic levels.

Compared to May e-commerce sales dipped 4.7 per cent, following similar declines in both May and April, while the June’s performance also fell well below the three-month, six-month and 12-month rolling averages of -4.54 per cent, 26.2 per cent and 35.5 per cent respectively.

“The steep fall in June of -14.1 per cent is a strong indication that consumer confidence is growing to get back out on the high-street as lockdown eases and the vaccine roll out continues,” Capgemini’s director of retail consulting Chris Long said.

It will however be interesting to see how the 19th July ‘Freedom Day’ impacts online spend, although most restrictions will be eased for the high-street there is a potential for an increase in self-isolation numbers from track & trace, which could slow the decline in online demand as many rely on home delivery.”

Despite almost all categories seeing similar declines, the easing of lockdown and Euro 2020 success helped boost both clothing and beer and wine sales by 18.6 per cent and 20.9 per cent respectively.

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