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Online sales fall for the 17th month in a row in August

After July’s figures signalled a possible reversal of fortunes (dipping only -2.3%), online retail sales growth declined -4.1% Year-on-Year (YoY) in August 2022, marking the 17th month in a row of negative growth since May 2021.

That’s according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks online sales for 200 retailers. Month-on-Month (MoM) sales were down -6.2% against July, markedly lower than the -2% recorded in 2019, which was the last year unaffected by pandemic skews.

While August featured some of the hottest days this year, it would be expected that some categories, specifically garden and beer, wines & spirits, might experience an uplift.

However, clothing was the only category to show positive YoY growth (+2.8%), while garden (-24.5%), and beers, wines & spirits (-20.6%) actually saw the sharpest declines.

Taking a look at the Year-to-Date (YTD) performance, online retail sales have recorded -14% negative growth since January. With plenty of categories falling behind on online sales growth expectations, the rest of the year is looking fairly bleak given the financial pressures people are under, with retailers concerned about trade over the peak period.

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG: “It’s been a difficult summer for online retail, with many retailers apprehensive about how performance is going to be over peak trading. The hope is that the energy cap announcement will do something to boost shopper confidence a bit before we get into November, but even then, the omens are not good.

“Usually, the amount of money spent online increases and decreases interchangeably in line with activity retailers are undertaking, but across July and August we recorded five weeks of decline, which is rare; there will need to be a great deal of sales growth to make up for Black Friday and peak to be positive.”

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