Almost 40% of retail sales take place online in May, suggesting shoppers may continue to do more of their internet shopping after Covid-19 – Customer
Almost 40% of retail sales took place online in May – the first full month in which non-essential UK stores were able to trade, according to BRC figures released today.
That’s well below the 61.5% of retail sales that took place online last May, when stores were closed during Britain’s first Covid-19 lockdown. But it’s also significantly higher than the 31.4% of sales that were online in May 2019 – the year before the pandemic broke. This suggests that a greater share of retail sales can now take place online than before Covid-19, even now that stores can trade again – and that shoppers may continue to make a greater proportion of their purchases. retail online in the future than before the pandemic.
Total retail sales increased 10% overall in May compared to May 2019, according to today’s BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for the month. The index will compare sales this year versus two years ago, excluding the disruption of the Covid-19 lockdown seen for much of 2020. On a comparable basis (LFL), this eliminates the Effect of store openings – and activities – and closures, UK retail sales increased 23.7% compared to May 2019.
Online sales of non-food items increased 39.1% in May, compared to the same month of 2019. May 2021 was the first month in which the retail business has been fully opened since the end of the third lockdown . This figure contrasts with the longer-term trend, as over the past three months online sales have grown an average of 64.4% per month.
Non-food in-store sales, meanwhile, were down 16.7% overall in May from the same month in 2019 – when total sales were down 3.1% – but rose 27.1. % LFL.
Helen Dickinson, Executive Director of the UK Retail Consortium (BRC) says, “Retail sales were buoyant in May thanks to the reopening of the hospitality industry, coupled with the lingering return of non-core retail. Pent-up demand for the in-store shopping experience, along with early signs of summer weather, has helped retail experience the strongest sales growth of the pandemic. “
She says furniture and housewares benefited as shoppers had the opportunity to touch and smell goods in-store, while clothing and footwear sales increased for the second month in a row as customers Social restrictions have relaxed and the weather has improved. Buyer confidence, she says, is supported by retailers’ own investments in safety measures.
“Big cities have been hit hardest by the pandemic, with so many people still working from home and footfall remaining drastically reduced as shoppers increasingly choose to buy local. Now is the time to think about what our future main streets and city centers will look like in a decade, ”says Dickinson. “We must adapt to these changes, not only to rebuild better, but also to build forward. With vacancy rates continuing to rise in many parts of the country, we must reinvent the way we integrate residential and commercial real estate, enabling us to build stronger local communities that encompass recreation, retail, services and homes. This will require retailers, real estate developers and local government to work together and plan city centers that meet these changing demands and truly innovate the Main Street model. “
Food sales increased 9.8% overall in May and 10.2% LFL.
Paul Martin, UK Retail Manager at KPMG Says: “Although some spending has migrated to Main Street, there was still a strong penetration of online spending in May, reinforcing the idea that the pandemic has seen an increase in online activity as some consumers continue. to use this channel out of habit and by choice. and some remain nervous about going back to the stores.
“Retailers are now facing an interesting few months as they assess how best to attract their customers to stores and what the right mix of offline and online will be as spending habits take hold in a world. post Covid. In the run-up to the full lifting of Covid restrictions coming into effect this month, there will be increased competition for the wallet share as consumers focus on the leisure and hospitality activities that appeal to them. were refused due to the lockdown. It’s a summer that starts off with cautious optimism for many retailers, who are hopeful that the continued success of the vaccine rollout and the improving economy will provide the opportunity to trigger a surge in consumer spending. “
Barclaycard increases consumer spending in May
Meanwhile, Barclaycard figures saw consumer spending rise 7.6% in May, compared to the same month in 2019. According to the credit card company, this was the highest growth since the start of restrictions on coronaviruses and suggests more people have gone shopping and socializing.
The figures show an increase in essential spending (+ 11.4%) in locations such as supermarkets (+ 17.7%) and at local food and beverage retailers (+ 69.3%) such as than independent butchers and convenience stores. They also spent on clothing (+ 8.5%) and pharmacy, health and beauty (+ 17.8%), while taking their families out and shopping at sports and outdoor retailers.
Barclaycard derives its data from its processing of almost half of UK credit and debit card transactions. A parallel survey found that 68% of respondents said they were comfortable spending time with family and friends outdoors, and 61% are happy to do so indoors.
Consumer confidence in the economy and household finances is also higher than at the same time last year, standing at 35% and 72% respectively, up from 20% and 67% in May 2020.
Raheel Ahmed, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, says: “May has been a positive month for many categories with the country clearly committed to supporting local retailers and businesses. As friends and families reunited after months of separation, it is reassuring to see signs of recovery for the entertainment and hospitality industries, both of which have faced significant challenges over the past year. the last year.
“As international holidays continue to be hampered by restrictions, stays in the UK are a welcome boost to the travel industry, as in May more and more holidaymakers, especially in older groups , book or undertake trips. With summer – and hopefully more of this warmer weather on the way, we hope to see these positive trends continue as the British make the most of their newfound freedoms. “