Online shopping continues to fall despite summer of fun

online shopping 20England’s victory in the Women’s Euros and the summer heatwave might be bringing joy around the country but for online retailers these twin events have proved anything but, with yet another sales slump.

According to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, three of the four weeks in July saw negative growth, with only the seven days commencing July 10 – the week leading up to the hottest day – being up, +5.8% year on year, leading to an overall decline of -5.4% compared to July 2021.

Electrical, clothing and garden were the leading categories as consumers purchased fans, summer clothing and garden furniture.

But the growth in order volumes (+26.1%) for premium footwear retailers, combined with lower basket values, implies consumers are seeking value through quality, albeit in more affordable options or during promotional discounts, the report states.

In the adjacent womenswear category, the growth of budget retailers (+9.6%) and the decline of premium retailers (-6.4%) supports the trend that consumers are also willing to switch brands in the pursuit of value.

IMRG Capgemini said the heatwave made it more difficult to trace any uplifts directly attributable to the success of the Euros tournament, as electricals, beers, wines and spirits and clothing would be the main categories that could see a spike.

Strategy and insight director Andy Mulcahy said: “It seems remarkable that it took the hottest day in British history and England actually winning a football tournament to produce only slightly negative growth – it does make you wonder what would need to happen for it to be positive.

“Black Friday/peak season trading looks like it might be very difficult this year, given the Bank of England has increased interest rates and inflation is expected to reach 13% by then.

“In April, the energy cap went up and people saw their National Insurance contributions rise in their pay packets, consequently sales in the first week of May fell through the floor. It seems likely the next energy cap rise in October will do something similar to the start of peak trading.”

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