The UK saw a remarkable increase in online retail sales in June, even with the reopening of non-essential brick-and-mortar stores. According to the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the performance of over 200 retailers, there was a 33.9% year-on-year growth in online sales for the month. This surpassed the previous month’s growth and marked the highest annual result since March 2008. Despite physical stores reopening, e-commerce platforms continued to see a 3.5% month-on-month growth, indicating that consumers were still favoring online shopping.

The surge in online sales significantly exceeded the 12, six, and three-month averages of +10.7%, +14.7%, and +30.3% respectively. This suggests that consumers are still hesitant about visiting physical stores and have developed a habit of online shopping during the lockdown, which they are likely to maintain moving forward.

However, the fashion sector did not enjoy the same benefits as other retail categories. The report revealed that almost all categories experienced a significant increase in sales, except for clothing and its sub-categories. Sales of footwear and womenswear declined by 18% and 15% respectively. In contrast, health and beauty sales saw an impressive increase of 72.8%, unaffected by the reopening of physical beauty stores. This rise could be attributed to consumers preparing to resume social activities and the need for new beauty products.

Interestingly, the performance gap between online-only retailers and multichannel retailers continued to widen. Multichannel retailers experienced over five times the growth of online-only retailers (+51.7% vs +10%). This indicates that consumers who shifted to online shopping during the lockdown preferred to shop with retailers that also have physical stores they would normally visit.

Overall, June witnessed a significant surge in online retail sales in the UK. While the fashion sector experienced a decline, other categories such as health and beauty thrived. The increasing preference for online shopping over visiting physical stores signals a potential long-term shift in consumer behavior. Retailers, whether they operate solely online or have a mix of online and physical stores, should adapt their strategies to cater to these evolving preferences in order to thrive in the post-lockdown retail landscape.

Sources:
1. IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index: https://www.imrg.org/product/imrg-capgemini-online-retail-index/
2. BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53402767