Covid-19: Online sales grow by more than 100% for third month running

UK online retail sales continued to surge in June, rising by 102.6%, according to BDO’s latest High Street Sales Tracker (HSST). This is the third consecutive month eCommerce sales have increased by more than 100% year-on-year, with consumers continuing their shift to digital shopping during Covid-19.

Overall retail sales were the best recorded since February, boosted by the reopening of non-essential stores in England from 15 June following 12 weeks of lockdown. However, there was a decline of 14.4% in June compared with the same period last year, representing the fifth consecutive month of negative sales growth.

The only sector to show sustained growth in June was homeware, which grew by 25.5%. BDO noted sales improved “markedly” following the reopening of physical stores in week three. This followed an increase of 22% in May, indicating that people are keen to invest in home improvements whilst in lockdown.

However, sales in lifestyle plunged 23.9%, which is the fifth consecutive month of decline recorded for this sector. And fashion sales fell for the fourth month in a row, by 20.9% in June.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, commented: “Despite the opening of non-essential retail and a strong performance of non-store sales in June, retailers have a long way to go to claw their way back following three months of closure.

“It will take time for both retailers to resume operations and for consumers to regain the confidence to head back to bricks-and-mortar establishments. The strength of non-store sales throughout the lockdown shows that spending has not entirely dried up, and while the re-opening of shops will be a welcome sign, for many it may not bring immediate results. Retailers should remain cautious and continue to invest in the ever more critical non-store channel, given the acceleration of the continuing shift to online.”

Earlier this week, the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail index showed that the substantial growth in eCommerce sales continued in the week commencing 14 June, when non-essential shops began reopening.

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