UK online sales growth remained solid throughout December, with a 37 per cent year-on-year increase; this also led overall growth for the whole of 2020 to a staggering 13-year high.
The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index reported that online retail sales in December defied forecasts of a poor Christmas trading period and growth was largely driven by November’s peak performance of +39 per cent YoY and the Black Friday sales period.
But electricals was one of the stand-out sectors last month, with online sales up a massive 116 per cent YoY.
These figures round-off an extremely successful year, with total electrical sales up by 90.8 per cent YoY alongside garden sales, which saw a jump of 222.5 per cent.
Other notable spending trends in December include the widening of the gap between multichannel and online only retailer performance – with the two groups recording figures of (+52.4 per cent) and (+11.4 per cent) respectively. The yearly results echoed this pattern, showing overall sales growth of +57 per cent versus +9.1 per cent.
Lucy Gibbs, Managing Consultant – Retail Insight, Capgemini, said: “Retail in 2020 has been fundamentally shaped by the pandemic, which caused disruption to consumer demand norms and a shift in focus to digital channels; reflected in the strongest online Year-on-Year growth in 13 years.
“Learnings from 2020 will be crucial as we navigate the uncertainties this year and a sense of a new baseline will take a while to be established. Retailers best set to ride out the storm are those with a strong online presence and the ability to remain nimble, using demand sensing to react to the changing landscape and adapt to surges both instore and online, combined with a readiness to take on opportunities as they come in 2021.”
Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG, added: “In 2020 things changed rapidly, and it makes predicting 2021 extremely difficult. We could end up with a year where significant pandemic disruption lasts for the first quarter, the first half, or most of the year; shopper spend might divert strongly to experiences and holidays if things open up again; the economic situation might lead to a squeeze on spend; the list of potential macro variables goes on.”