Brits spent more online in July as rain dampened high street sales

Anjana Menon on Unsplash

E-commerce commanded 27.4 per cent of all retail sales in July, reveal the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This shows a noticeable rise in online spending, with online sales averaging around 26 per cent of total sales for the past year.

In-store sales volumes fell by -1.2 per cent while the amount spent also dropped by -1 per cent. In contrast, non-store volumes rose by 2.8 per cent while the value of online sales soared 4.1 per cent against June. Digital sales were also notably higher than July last year at +9.8 per cent.

David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, comments: “Online’s July jump of 4.1 per cent is far from a fluke. To be sure, it was helped by the sixth wettest July since 1836, which kept would-be shoppers at home. But the rain didn’t stop them from splashing out on goods online. 

“Fashion retailers, however, will be particularly concerned by another lacklustre month. Overall, clothing store sales fell by -2.2 per cent and even online they rose just 0.9 per cent. It looks like people realised summer tee-shirts wouldn’t be needed and last autumn’s jacket was suddenly de rigueur.

“It’s not just high street clothing stores that will need to be on their best game to regain lost ground. Before Covid reached the UK, online shopping claimed just 19.6 per cent of all retail sales (February 2020). Few could have anticipated last month’s 27.4 per cent share. Retailers will need to keep in mind that consumers can now shop from the comfort of their sofas, whether they’re avoiding bad weather, parking problems, unappealing high streets or even a covid resurgence.

“As retail settles to a new equilibrium, it will be those retailers with strong in-store and online sales that will ultimately triumph in a post-Covid world.”

Read ParcelHero’s 2030: Death of the High Street report here.