Lockdown easing, but online shopping bigger than ever

    Posted on July 28, 2020

     

    The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest retail report reveals that UK shoppers are continuing to spend a larger portion of their budget online than ever before, even as bricks-and-mortar stores begin to reopen.

    In June, online shopping accounted for 31.8% of all spending. This is slightly down from the 33.3% recorded in May, when lockdown conditions were stricter, but significantly higher than June 2019, suggesting that many shoppers have increased their confidence and reliance on e-retail.

    Figure 12 of the ONS report shows how the share of online spending has changed month by month over the last four years. Before COVID-19, the proportion had shown modest upticks, increasing from 16.3% to 18.7% between June 2017 and June 2019. As recently as February 2020, the figure stood at 20%, but as the UK went through the peak of the coronavirus, online spending rocketed, and June represents the third month in succession where it has passed the 30% mark.

    In total, June spending was up by 13.9% on May’s figures and suggests signs of recovery for a retail sector hit hard by the pandemic.

    What seems clear is that even though many shops and services reopened in June, significant numbers of shoppers have become used to the convenience of online retail, and the increased safety of having goods delivered to their door rather than going to the shops for them. This means that even though we hope normality will return in the months to come, a whole demographic may continue to shop more online than they did before.

    Retailers need to capitalise on this shift in consumer habits by ensuring they have a strong online presence, including social media accounts. For advice on how to make your website shine in these unusual times, and take advantage of online retail opportunities, speak to the Engage Web team today.

    John Murray

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