Online retail sales growth has continued to rise throughout March, despite the promise of the high street opening up in April.
IMRG’s Capgemini Online Retail Index, which displays the sales performance from over 200 retailers, shows that online sales have risen 71.7 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in March.
The study saw almost all sales categories report positive growth, but there were signs of a slowdown in sectors such as electronics and health and beauty, two of last year’s top performers.
Electronics recorded growth of 78.5 per cent, a big drop from its peak of 206.6 per cent last year, meanwhile health and beauty saw 46.5 per cent growth.
Clothing sales continued to bounce back after seeing a drop of 18.9 per cent this time last year, seeing 75 per cent YoY growth with consumers looking to refresh their wardrobes with the end of lockdown in sight.
Garden has continued to perform strongly, rising 120.3 per cent YoY, building on record growth of 224.6 per cent last year.
Beer and wine was the only category to not see growth, seeing sales drop 6.7 per cent YoY after seeing a boom of 105.7 per cent for March 2020.
Despite impressive figures, experts are cautious about sales growth for the next few months as the high street opens back up.
“Online retail is poised for turbulent months ahead as lockdown restrictions ease and social plans become reality,” IMRG’s director of data and retail Matthew Walsh said.
“That said, the ‘unlocking’ of physical stores had little immediate impact on the online retail market last year, in fact, we saw a one-month gap between the reopening of non-essential high street shops and restaurants and bars
“It was only once bars opened and the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme arrived that online growth started to fall.”
Separate figures from Barclaycard also showed that retail spend grew 17.9 per cent overall as a result of the rise of ecommerce.
Online retail transactions increased 84.7 per cent compared to 2019, accounting for 51.6 per cent of all retail spend in March.
Barclaycard head of consumer products Raheel Ahmed added: “With springtime finally here and restrictions starting to ease, it’s encouraging to see a renewed sense of optimism across much of the UK.
“There are also signs that some of those sectors most heavily impacted by the pandemic, such as hotels, resorts, accommodation and entertainment, are beginning to turn a corner, as many look forward to long-awaited trips and activities with family and friends after lockdown.”