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Shoppers spent less online in June than a year earlier – but more than in May: IMRG

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Shoppers spent less online in June as the rising cost of living continues to be felt, the latest figures suggest.

Ecommerce sales were 2.3% lower in June than a year earlier, but 1.5% higher than the previous month of May, the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index for the month suggests. This is the best performance seen in the index so far this year, despite being in negative territory. It’s well ahead of the longer-term trend, over three (-7%), six (-16.8%) and 12 months (-18.8%). 

Average basket values, as recorded by the index, fell for the first time in five months, from £150 to £145. That, says IMRG, suggests spending may have started to stabilise. 

“It speaks volumes that a decline of -2.3% feels quite good in the context of 2022,” says Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG. “The cost-of-living crisis is having a profound impact on customer behaviour in ways that set it apart from the pandemic.

“For example, while the pandemic drove massive growth online, it didn’t change things like average spend or conversion. If we compare a lockdown period (Q4 2020) with a non-lockdown period (Q4 2021), the differences in some metrics are negligible – the percentage of visitors who view a product page on retail sites fell -3.5%, while the percentage that add something to their basket and proceed to the checkout fell -4.5%. Comparing Q1 2021 with Q1 2022, as the cost-of-living increases started to bite, those falls are -12% and -22.7% respectively. In some respects, incredibly, it is having a bigger impact.”

Sales by category

All categories but clothing reported a year-on-year fall in sales aside from clothing (+11.3% year-on-year), continuing trends seen throughout the year to date. In the first half of the year, the total market has fallen by 16.7%. Sales in categories including gardening and homewares have fallen by more than 30% so far this year, while clothing sales have grown by 4% – probably reflecting the return to in-person events and holidays.

Jeremy Wilson, director of commerce, customer transformation & frog Tech at Capgemini, says: “Though the headline numbers indicate some continued impact of Covid-19 – as the categories that did well during that time fall back and those that didn’t pick up – a deeper dive into the wider trends does show that the cost-of-living crisis is having a very different effect on consumer behaviours.

“Boiled back, the pandemic mainly drove a channel switch – changing where budget was spent, but not necessarily how much and how often. The conversion drops and basket value increases we’re seeing now appear to show that the cost-of-living crisis is having a far greater impact on consumers’ spending caution and prioritisation of goods. It will be interesting to track these numbers over the coming months, particularly as energy costs soar ever higher.”

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