Online UK retail sales grew by 18.9% year-on-year (YoY) in March, as the high street reported the steepest year-on-year drop in footfall since 2010.
Weekly analysis revealed growth doubled to 27% in the final week over Easter, increasing from 13% the previous week.
Both clothing, and beer, wine and spirits saw increases of 17.2% and 27.3% respectively. Electricals also had a very strong month, reversing a five-year trend of decline to record growth of 21.9%.
Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, said: “It’s possible to read this month’s results as a simple story of online continuing to benefit from the decline of the high street – which is nothing new of course, but it may be that we are seeing an acceleration of this as we’ve moved into 2018.
“At the same time it could just be a blip – Easter falling in March will likely have pushed up online growth (and, by extension, it may come in far lower in April) plus the weather has at times brought heavy snowfall and prolonged rainfall.”
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini, added: “Regardless of a probable uptick in high street sales as the months warm up, this isn’t a calculation retailers can afford to push to the back of their minds till Autumn.
“Not only is the British weather far too unreliable for such optimism, but all the signs point to this being part of a much more intrinsic change in consumer behaviour that continues to gather pace. For those retailers who fail to evolve their approach fast enough, the gap in fortunes is only going to widen.”