As we approach a year since the beginning of the pandemic, the online retail space has seen a lot of fluctuation. But overall, the percentage of internet sales to total retail sales has increased sharply since the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns began.
The overall retail sales volume only partially recovered in February 2021, increasing 2.1%. This compares to an 8.2% fall in the previous month. Sales were down 3.7% on the previous year pre-pandemic.
Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales is down slightly on January and November at 34.5% compared to 36.3% and 36.2% respectively. This is still an increase on December’s 31.3%, and February 2020 – where internet sales made up 19.1%.
Clothing retailers saw a large fall of 50.4% in sales volumes compared to February in 2020.
The proportion spent online increased to 36.1% in February 2021 – which is the highest recorded proportion to date, as you can see in the chart below. In January 2021, this was 35.2%, with 20% back in February 2020.
When it comes to online retail, total online sales increased by 4.6% compared to January 2021.
Household goods stores’ sales online sales grew 35.9% in the month compared to January – the highest monthly growth.
Department stores had an increase of 14.8%, however non-food stores had a decline of 1.5% in online sales compared to January.
Overall, the statistics foe February reflect how consumer behaviour has changed over the last year, as despite February traditionally being one of the slower months for online retail, the percentage of online sales is much higher.
As we slowly come out of lockdown, it will be interesting to see how the high street opening up impacts these statistics, as we see more people shopping in-person. However, new consumer behaviours will not disappear overnight, and as we still need to wear masks and socially distance, it is likely people will continue their newfound habits.