Online retail sales boom by 13%, as shoppers seek out bargains to combat rising inflation
- UK retail figures fall for first time since 2013 (ONS)
- Online retail sales up 13% year-on-year in March (IMRG Capgemini)
- Shoppers saving on garden items, food and everyday homeware essentials (Jive Hippo®)
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that quarterly UK retail sales have fallen for the first quarter since 2013, dropping 1.5% in March alone. However, while inflation and the looming uncertainties of Brexit impact take their toll, there is still plenty of positive news for online sales.
According to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, while UK-wide retail figures were dropping off at a faster rate than expected, online retails sales in March were up by 13% year-on-year. Improvements to the mobile-retail experience and offers of free next day delivery once a certain spending limit has been reached were two factors behind the boom.
“The continued positive growth for online retail sales appears to be being driven, at least in part, by higher average basket values (ABV) through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) for both multichannel and online-only retailers – the total m-retail ABV was up +18% on March 2016, to mark the seventh straight month in which the ABV has risen YoY.”
Online-only retailers are doing particularly well, thanks to the lower overheads that they face when compared with brands that have to maintain physical premises. Companies that offer new ways to save, such as online membership brand Jive Hippo®, are also particularly attractive to penny-conscious consumers right now.
“There are various factors at play when it comes to the shift to online retail. Shoppers are becoming more aware of the need to find bargains, and shopping around online offers far greater choice in terms of making savings than hitting your local town centre.”
Jive Hippo® spokesperson
The inflation and Brexit-driven need to save money can also be seen in what consumers are purchasing. According to data from Jive Hippo®, it is outdoor and gardening items that are driving sales at present.
“We’re seeing a significant increase in the number of people dropping their foreign holiday plans in order to save money. Some are holidaying in the UK instead, while others are spending the money they save on making their gardens into fabulous places in which to enjoy the British sunshine this summer.”
Jive Hippo® spokesperson
A record-breaking 7.3 million people decided to opt for a staycation in Q1 2016, up 10% on the previous year. The figures for Q1 2017 are expected to reflect a continuation of that trend.
Figures from Jive Hippo® show that online shoppers are also keen to save on everyday essentials, as well as outdoor items. Three of their top ten most clicked on retailers were homeware stores, while three were supermarkets and one was a department store.
The remaining three retailers in the top ten during March were electronics companies, showing that consumers are still happy to treat themselves when it comes to electronic gadgets, provided they can make savings as they shop. While rising inflation means that saving money is clearly on shoppers’ minds, it is a long way from stopping them spending altogether yet.