UK online sales continue to struggle but fashion spend is still up
The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index show that times are still tough for e-tailers at the moment, although the fashion sector remains the standout performer and continues to be in positive territory.
The index, which tracks the online sales of more than 200 retailers, showed overall e-tail growth was negative again last month with a 2.3% fall year-on-year.
That said, it was the highest result the index has seen so far this year and significantly better than the three-, six-, and 12-month averages.
And when compared to May, the index also showed 1.5% sales growth. But before we get carried away with the good news, we have to bear in mind that a reading between 2% and 5% is more typical for this time of year.
So while the freefall has eased slightly, the overall picture is still reasonably weak.
While that 2.3% year-on-year drop isn't too bad in isolation, it comes after an 8.6% fall this time last year, so the overall picture is poor.
The monthly report also said that the Average Basket Value (ABV) dropped slightly for the first time in five months, from £150 to £145, “suggesting a degree of stabilisation”. Yet the report said the basket spend remains very high historically.
Of course, the fall in basket size this time could also suggest consumers cutting back on their spending in June at a time when prices are rising fast. Basket sizes could be expected to grow simply because of inflation had shoppers been purchasing at the same rate as in May.
At a category level, the trends seen throughout H1 continue to dominate, with all categories reporting negative growth aside from clothing. In fact, clothing continues to recover from the pandemic at +4% year to date and +11.3% year-on-year, perhaps buoyed by the uptick in in-person events and summer travel.
Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG, said: “It speaks volumes that a decline of 2.3% feels quite good in the context of 2022. The cost-of-living crisis is having a profound impact on customer behaviour in ways that set it apart from the pandemic.”
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