‘New normal’ finally debunked as online sales plummet

online-shop2Those who predicted that Covid would trigger a permanent online shopping boom – as part of the “new normal” – have finally been forced to eat their words, with online shopping sales crashing to their lowest levels since before the pandemic.

Ecommerce sales dipped 3.3% in May, as the number of goods bought from digital retailers like Amazon dropped, with high inflation and in-store shops resuming normal trade seemingly halting the march online.

Not that high street retailers are faring much better; they only saw their total in-store sales rise by 1.0% last month. The homeware market was hit worst of all, as its total like-for-like sales dropped 9.2%.

The fashion sector also recorded its third consecutive month of bad results, as its total like-for-like sales went down 1.5% during May.

Consultancy BDO, which has published the figures, reckons retailers are not just competing with each other, but also with the hospitality and leisure sectors for every pound of discretionary spending. It described the drop in online sales as “stark”,  recording the worst online sales results on record with the exception of the months impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

BDO head of retail and wholesale Sophie Michael said: “These results are extremely discouraging. Like-for-like sales are an absolute value and therefore, given the high inflation rates, these figures suggest significant drops in volumes.

“With three Bank Holidays last month and the fact that footfall has increased compared to this time last year, these results highlight the huge pressure on the consumer purse.”

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