In January 2021, the internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales ratio (as a percentage) hit an all-time high figure of 36.3%.
In May 2020, we saw a high of 32.8%, which then dropped down to 26.3% in September. In the lead up to Christmas, it rose to 36.2% of retail, dipped in December down to 31.3%, and then spiked back up to the highest percentage of retail sales yet in January 2021 – 31.3%.
Before the pandemic took ahold of the nation and the world, the percentage would rise in the run-up to Christmas 2 or 3%, but after December 2019, it jumped to over 30% for the first time as the first lockdown came into effect.
Overall, the retail sales volume decreased 8.2% in January 2021 from December 2020 due to the restrictions affecting how people buy.
Retail sales volumes were actually 5.5% lower than pre-pandemic in February 2020, which shows that the current restrictions did not hit as hard as back in April 2020. Back in April last year, retail sales fell 22.2% compared to levels before the lockdowns began.
All sectors had a decline in the volume of sales aside from non-store retailers and food stores. However, all store types saw an increase in the proportion of online spending in January 2021 compared to the previous month. FOod stores reached an all-time high figure of online sales hitting 12.2% of sales.
When it comes to online retail, January showed a lot of growth. TOtal online sales increased 9.2% compared to the previous month.
Non-food stores recorded the highest monthly growth of 31.1%, with household goods seing a growth of 22.6% and food stores seeing an increase of 22.6%.
As it stands in February 2021, the UK is on track to come out of lockdown by the summer and return to some form of normality.
But what will this mean for ecommerce? We will likely see a much higher proportion of people spending online compared to pre-pandemic levels, and due to the uncertainty, we just don’t know when life will resume to the way it was.
We will have a better idea by this summer, but even then people will have become more accustomed to ecommerce for various products and services. Going back to the old, less convenient ways of shopping is not likely to entice them back.