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High StreetOnline & Digital

September online retail sales drop by 12.5% YOY, data warns

The drop was driven by poor sales in the first week of the month which typically would have fared better through the ‘back to school’ period

Online retail sales fell back 12.5% year-on-year in September, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.

The drop was driven by poor sales in the first week of the month which typically would have fared better through the “back to school” period.

September’s subdued sales suggest consumers are “browsing and not buying”, which could result from a variety of factors including supply chain shortages and consumer caution in the face of rising inflation and gas prices etc, or Christmas browsing starting earlier.

This is evident when looking at the conversation rate, which was down from 3.9% in September 2020 to 2.8% for the same month this year.

Meanwhile, as with last month, health and beauty was the worst performing of the group, down 32.7%.

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant, retail lead for Analytics and AI, Capgemini, said: “Online sales were more subdued in September, and basket value decreased month on month for the first time this year.

“This has been reflected across the market alongside a dip in consumer confidence as back to school and a push for a ‘return to normal’ coincides with concerns on energy bills, costs, and tax hikes.”

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG, added: “If shoppers were browsing for ideas in September, the purchasing may start to fall in October. The conversion on sites in September was down around 25% on the same time last year, but that has been a trend across many months.

“If the purchasing accelerates early, it might spur some to launch their Black Friday campaigns even earlier than they did in 2020, which could lead to an extended event this year.”

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