Industry Talk

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Brits spent 4.1% more online in July as rain dampened High Street sales

Online sales soared while High Street spending slumped, as the wettest July since 2009 kept shoppers indoors.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail results show sales volumes fell by -1.2% in July and the amount spent also dropped by -1%. In contrast, non-store (predominantly online) volumes rose by 2.8%. The value of online sales also soared 4.1% against June and a remarkable 9.8% compared to July last year.

The home delivery expert ParcelHero says online scooped an impressive 27.4% of all retail sales in July, its best result since February 2022. E-commerce sales have averaged almost 26% of all sales for over a year, showing its increased popularity was no Covid bubble.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., says: ‘Online’s July jump of 4.1% is far from a fluke. To be sure, it was helped by the sixth wettest July since 1836, which kept would-be shoppers at home. But the rain didn’t stop them from splashing out on goods online.

‘Fashion retailers, however, will be particularly concerned by another lacklustre month. Overall, clothing store sales fell by -2.2% and even online they rose just 0.9%. It looks like people realised summer tee-shirts wouldn’t be needed and last autumn’s jacket was suddenly de rigueur.

‘It’s not just High Street clothing stores that will need to be on their best game to regain lost ground. Before Covid reached the UK, online shopping claimed just 19.6% of all retail sales (February 2020). Few could have anticipated last month’s 27.4% share. Retailers will need to keep in mind that consumers can now shop from the comfort of their sofas, whether they’re avoiding bad weather, parking problems, unappealing High Streets or even a Covid resurgence.

‘As retail settles to a new equilibrium, it will be those retailers with strong in-store and online sales that will ultimately triumph in a post-Covid world. ParcelHero’s influential report “2030: Death of the High Street” has been discussed in Parliament. It reveals that, unless retailers develop an omnichannel approach, embracing both online and physical store sales, the High Street as we know it will reach a dead-end by 2030.

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