Shop doors have once again swung open on the highstreet as lockdown restrictions ease, the industry comes to terms with the 2m rules, and shoppers converge after three months of closure.
The early signs suggest that reopenings will be popular with figures showing footfall across UK retail increasing by 45% last week from the previous seven day period as non-essential stores in England reopened following lockdown. The respective nations all showed increases with footfall rising by 46.7% in England and by 8.5% and 11.5% respectively in Wales and Scotland.
But what of eCommerce? What of the industry which bent but did not break throughout lockdown as the masses relied on online purchases to entertain themselves, to shop for groceries, to buy essentials needed to keep safe. Well, that industry thrived, and even as stores begin to reopen, the numbers continue to impress.For example, online retail sales in the UK jumped by 32.7% year-on-year in May, the highest increase since March 2008, data from IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index Reveals. All categories, except for clothing, saw a rise in online sales throughout May, with home and garden sales seeing a growth of 162.2% year-on-year - likely enhanced by above-average temperatures.
Meanwhile, electricals and alcohol saw further boosts of 102.8% and 94.9% respectively year-on-year. And it wasn't just May alone as April saw sales of homeware, electricals and alcohol soar. Cloud.IQ's platforms also recorded a boost with 85% of merchants showing increases in traffic and sales volume since the beginning of lockdown.
Continued Use of eCommerce Post-Lockdown
The three months of lockdown showed us that online saw a huge return with social distancing measures in place. In the US eCommerce businesses saw an average 126% rise in online revenue for the same period last year, the Nordics saw a huge and fairly consistent spike with revenue growth rising to 166% year-on-year, while the rest of Europe has seen a 115% uptick.
The statistics further suggest that eCommerce will continue to enjoy success post-lockdown, reinforcing the importance of not neglecting online. A study by Kantar examined Europe's three largest eCommerce markets of France, Germany and the UK and found that the shopping habits of lockdown are likely to continue well beyond the era of social distancing. It predicts that eCommerce will further outperform retail in the year ahead and that 33% of households believe their future online purchases will increase. This goes up to 40% for the sustainability-conscious shopper and 45% for households with children.
And there are case examples in the form of China which may show how it will possibly play out. A post on the World Economic Forum examining the situation analysed data generated by JD.com's 618 Grand Promotion - the biggest mid-year shopping festival in China. On the first day, JD Super, JD's online supermarket, saw its sales increase by 100% while online sales of fresh groceries rose by 140%, compared with the promotional day last year. The data highlights how China's online habits have taken a big step forward, and the country's readiness to supply.
Context to the Huge eCommerce Return
The backdrop to the exponential growth of online which shows no sign of abating is enormously influenced by the Covid-19 lockdown. During this time one of the key takeaways has been the impact on ad spend.
Advertising thrives on ROI and ad spend declines have gone up to 50% across all channels, according to Statista. Two-thirds of advertising sellers - including publishers, platforms and programmatic media sellers, have seen advertising rates decline since the lockdown began. Whilst this is the case, digital ad spend is experiencing a slight rebound with 70% of buyers adjusting their spend, while 16% are still determining what actions to take.
Yet businesses hit by the crisis should look to spend money on resilient channels to ensure they make the most of consumers relying on online purchases. So if you want to become part of an online eCommerce community that is seeing highly impressive results, click below to have a free trial of Cloud.IQ's platform.