High StreetOnline & Digital

August online retail sales growth slows down

The index revealed that August’s results were still ‘well below’ the six (2.25%) and 12-month (21.37%) averages, but above the three-month average

Online retail sales growth in August fell by 9.3% year-on-year, which was only a small improvement compared with July’s fall of 9.6%, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index.

The index revealed that August’s results were still “well below” the six (2.25%) and 12-month (21.37%) averages, but above the three-month average.

Health and beauty remained one of the poorest performers, down 32.8% versus last month’s drop of 36.1%. Bucking the trend, beers, wines and spirits (26.8%) and garden (40.1%) continued to do well throughout August, with clothing also managing to remain in the positive at 10.3%.

Other notable spending trends in August include the average basket volume (ABV) reaching its highest average for 2021 at £149, this was mainly driven by sales in home, garden and electricals.

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant, retail lead for analytics and AI, Capgemini, said: “Online sales growth continued on its negative trend this month. Interestingly, this was mainly driven by a 7.3% drop for multichannel retailers, with online only retailers actually recording a growth of 1.7% in August compared to July.

“This could indicate that multichannel retailers are focusing their efforts to get consumers into their shops again, given that British consumer confidence has reached pre-pandemic levels for the second month in a row according to GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index.”

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG, added: “With conversion dropping, it suggests people are encountering out-of-stock items or not finding what they were looking for, but when they do find something in stock, they buy it without shopping around for a better price.

“A lower reliance on discounting to drive sales is interesting in the build-up to Black Friday – the discounting event of the year. It does seem highly likely that whatever a retailer’s plan for Black Friday stock was back in January, there will need to be some adaptation if they can’t get the right products in time to fit their campaign plans.”

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