Online retail sales bounce back in June

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June online sales
// June online retail sales up 8.5% year-on-year according to the latest eRetail Sales Index
// June’s results outperform the 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month rolling averages of -0.5%, +5.4%, +6.9% respectively
// Sales were also up 5.1% compared to May, above the five-year average for June

Online retail sales for the month of June made a comeback after a disappointing May, which saw which saw the worst growth on record.

According to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, June online retail sales grew 8.5 per cent year-on-year, representing the strongest growth so far this year.

It is also well ahead of the three-month average of a decline of 0.5 per cent, and six-month and 12-month average growth of 5.4 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively.

On a month-on-month basis, June’s online sales was up 5.1 per cent compared to May, when growth

June’s growth rate is also 5.1 per cent higher than May, the month that saw growth slow down to just 1.9 per cent.

In terms of standout category, clothing recorded the highest growth so far this year with a rise of 15.7 per cent.

This was buoyed by good results in both menswear, which saw its strongest performance of 2019 at 31.2 per cent, and womenswear, which reversed last month’s negative growth to achieve an increase of 3.3 per cent versus 2018.

However, accessories and footwear did not fare as well, with accessories sales declining by 7.4 per cent – their lowest ever June growth – while footwear also fell by 8.8 per cent.

While further category analysis highlighted positive performances for health & beauty and home and garden, with growth of 20.4 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively, elsewhere there was a negative trend with electricals dropping 23 per cent and gifts down 23.4 per cent.

IMRG insight director Andy Mulcahy said June’s overall positive growth “can be interpreted as a bounce-back” and ends what has been a “tough” first half of the year.

“However, the discounting has been heavy so the margins achieved may not be high – online clothing sales were up 15.7 per cent, but the average basket value for clothing was down 25 per cent,” he said.

“That doesn’t suggest shopper confidence is very high.

“It is the summer sales period now, so end-of-season sales campaigns are in full swing.

“The key now for retailers is whether they can come out of discounting and maintain a reasonable level of sales growth before we get too close to the Black Friday period.

“Otherwise we may be in for another difficult peak where the rates of discount are wider and deeper than many retailers would like.”

Capgemini principal consultant Bhavesh Unadkat said June’s positive sales performance should be “considered with a note of caution”.

“Consumer confidence is down 25 per cent vs last year, and the overall performance is masked by weaker comparable in June 2018 and higher discounting activity, indicated by higher conversion rates and lower basket values,” he said.

“The change of tune in June was also not enough to counter the overall quarter performance.”

He added: “The hint of optimism lies with the hope that performance picks up in the second half against weaker comparisons last year.”

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