Despite expectations that an early start to festive spending might herald a return to growth in October, online retail sales have continued to remain low, falling by -11.2% Year-on-Year (YoY). That is according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.
While the Month-on-Month (MoM) surge of +11.2% proved the highest since the high streets reopened in April, this performance falls in line with pre-pandemic patterns for this time of year.
Last month’s slowdown in online sales was once again kicked off by a poor first week, down -12.5% compared to only -0.9% during the last week. While the average basket value (ABV) remains high at £131 (though down from its August peak of £149), the conversion rate has fallen further (+2.9% in Oct 2021 vs +4.1% in Oct 2020), suggesting ongoing issues with stock levels, due to the pressure on the supply chain.
At a category level, beers, wines and spirits retailers are still seeing positive growth, but only just – up +2.2% compared to last month’s figures of +18.6%. The only other category to record growth was clothing – up +7.5%. Elsewhere, for only the second time since December 2019, garden sales have declined (-7.5%), while health and beauty remains the worst hit category at -23.3% growth.
Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG