October saw online retail continue its gradual easing of Year-on-Year growth, reporting a 35.7% uplift against the same month last year. However, October also reported a healthy 12% month-on-month increase; so whilst the annualised comparisons maybe be starting to fade, the market is still showing signs of momentum. This is particularly important as we approach the biggest period of the year – Black Friday and Christmas. It’s worth noting that during all of the incredibly high growth figures seen across 2020, not once has the spend volume managed to get close to those seen over Black Friday last year. In other words – if we see growth rates remain at current levels for the Black Friday period, Online Retail may well burst at the seams.

An interesting data point from last month, was the last week of October – it was the best performance of the month by some margin, reporting a 43.4% YoY uplift. The final week coincided with growing coronavirus case numbers and increased rumours of a second lockdown- perhaps prompting people to choose online over the high-street. The timing of the current national lockdown is hugely impactful upon the retail industry, and further compounds the anticipation around an explosive Black Friday.

For the last two months the Gifts sector has gone from strength to strength, reporting a YoY of growth of 73% in September and 103% in October. Its late in the year surge could be due to consumers choosing to begin some of their Christmas shopping early in order to try and beat delivery issues as we approach December. We would also expect e-gift cards to be a big seller in the closing weeks of 2020 as consumers are faced with potential long delivery times yet need an ‘instant gift’ for Christmas.

With the second lockdown now in place, November will be a very interesting month as the combination of closed high street stores, early Christmas shopping and black Friday purchases all point towards a very unique month for Online retail.

The IMRG Capgemini Sales Index does not include online grocery or ticketing and travel sales.

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