As strict lockdown measures are still in place, the online retail market continues to soar, posting the best result for the month of February since 2003. A lacklustre February in 2020 enhanced the figures for this year- a combination of current strong online trade and a poor comparator, explain the excessive growth figures. However, the music may be about the stop as we approach a full year in lockdown. March will bring the first time we can compare a ‘like for like’ of annualised lockdown trading- revealing a ‘clearer’ picture of how online retail is trading at the start of 2021.
In February, electricals maintained the same staggering levels of growth we have seen for the past 11 months, reporting a 158.5% YoY uplift. The momentum it’s maintained throughout the pandemic has been impressive. Speculation of ‘tech fatigue’ has not materialised- shoppers are still spending similar amounts too- the average basket value for the sector is just £2 lower last month than one year ago.
Clothing appears to be well and truly back on its feet, reporting a 22% Year on Year growth, its best result since the pandemic started and the first time for consecutive double-digit growth since lockdown. Menswear fared better than womenswear with 31% and 7% YoY respectively. The clothing sector has slowly, but surely built itself back up from the depths of reporting 20% declines last year. Clothing will be one to watch as the country reopens; in 2020 the reopening of non-essential shops in June did little to impact the online clothing market. It was only once the hospitality sector reopened in July, that online clothing managed to post positive growth- social occasions it seems, gave necessity for new purchases. A similar one-month gap is planned for this year’s unlocking, suggesting online clothing might have a little more time before we see demand shifts.
An interesting note this month is for the Garden sector. The week immediately after the Government announced its lockdown release plan (which notably included freedoms of meeting others in garden spaces as one of the first lifted restrictions), the Garden sector reported its best week of online trading.