e-commerce soars to 33.4% of overall retail sales

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May’s ONS retail sales figures show that, against expectations, online sales continued to grab an even larger share of the overall retail market. The home delivery expert ParcelHero says that, despite many DIY and hardware stores reopening in March, shoppers were in no hurry to kick their new online shopping habit.

Today’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) retail sales estimates for May show e-commerce grabbing an even larger slice of overall retail sales. A huge 33.4% of everything we bought in May was ordered online, up from the previous record 30.8% in April.

David Jinks MILT, is Head of Consumer Research for the home delivery expert ParcelHero. He says:

‘When all non-essential stores closed on Lockdown Monday, 23 March, retailers rubbed their magic lamps and wished that customers would move to online sales. That’s exactly what Britain’s consumers have done, but now store owners can’t put the genie back in the bottle. A portion of High Street sales have been lost forever.

‘UK shoppers have grown used to shopping online during lockdown, and even though many more stores reopened in May, consumers increasingly prefer to surf rather than queue.

‘When major DIY and hardware store chains threw open their doors again, it led to a 12% rebound in overall sales volumes compared to April. That’s good news for retailers. However, before High Street shops hang out the bunting, they should remember that’s still a huge -13.1% collapse in overall sales compared to May 2019.

‘As expected, household goods stores saw the biggest increase in volume sales in May 2020 at 42.0% when compared with April. What most analysts hadn’t expected was that this significant rise wasn’t enough to slow the relentless growth of online sales. 

‘That’s because 87.1% of all retail businesses continued to trade online. 32.8% of these reported a notable increase in online sales during lockdown. Online clothing sales grew by 25.2% in May and specialist stores 38.3%

‘We believe smaller, specialist town centre stores do still have a chance of survival if they source home delivery services quickly.” 


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