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EDITORIAL Ecommerce sales soared in 2020 – but overall retail sales dipped by 0.3%

In today’s InternetRetailing we’re reporting as two key figures stand out from our ecommerce and multichannel coverage today. On the one hand retail sales have fallen by 0.3% – the lowest annual growth figure for 25 years, according to the BRC. On the other, ecommerce sales grew at their highest level – 36% – for 13 years, according to IMRG. The two figures tell the story of retail in 2020. On the one hand, the pandemic has kept UK shoppers at home, forcing them to buy many non-food items online over the course of many months. On the other, they have spent slightly less than they did a year earlier, in a year that many have had less to spend on, thanks to the cancellation of office working, weddings and other events. The question that remains open for 2021 is how that will all develop. Do shoppers want to return to stores as soon as they can, or will they stick with new habits of buying online? In truth, it’s not possible to say for certain how ecommerce and multichannel retail will develop in 2021 – in part because we do not yet know what course the pandemic will run over coming months. 

Today we continue to assess how shoppers spent during peak 2020, with news from Kingfisher Group  that Screwfix is on course to turn over £2bn this year, while JD Sports is raising its profit expectations as customers have “readily” shifted between online and in-store buying this year. Studio Retail is reporting buoyant results, as is the Post Office, thanks to the shift online seen throughout 2020. And we bring together predictions for how delivery will develop in 2021

Dr Martens is banking on habits developed in 2020 remaining a trend. It’s giving notice of its plans for a stockmarket flotation, and emphasising its ecommerce and direct to consumer expertise as a source for future growth. In today’s guest comment, Alexander Igelsböck of Adverity suggests three top ways to use augmented analytics to fuel ecommerce growth. 

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