Close this search box.

The depression before the storm?

This is an archived article - we have removed images and other assets but have left the text unchanged for your reference

The fact that online sales fell in August should come as no real surprise to anyone – it happens every year pretty much: we all go on holiday or get distracted by just living a slightly more relaxed life and the quest for things gets lost in the dunes. What is news in this month’s BRC-KPMG online shopping stats is that this was a particularly bad August.

Now, the analysts are blaming the Olympics and the great weather for the fall – it bumped in at about half the 12 month average of 11% – but could this be the beginning of the ‘readjustment’ we are likely to see post-Brexit as the world gets back to normal and the horror of that vote comes home to roost?

Of course we won’t know until next month’s numbers are in… and the month after that and onwards., but I suspect that there is an inkling of a downturn. No, people didn’t avoid the shops because they were worried about Brexit and its inevitable impact, but they are less likely to flock back as the news starts to crank out what it really means trying to extricate ourselves from the European project.

It’s not all bad news, however. The figures are down, but online still grows and is still the jewel in the retail crown – lying at above 20% of all sales. The High Street still fairs poorly and this is likely to be where the impact hits retailers first.

But hit it will. Everyone is worried about what Brexit means (even if they don’t admit it); everyone will wonder if their job is safe, the house likely to be in positive equity, their children likely to get jobs. All these things start to chip away at confidence. Shoppers may well have been enjoying the warm weather and the sport on TV, but they were glad of the distraction and using it as a great excuse to what their pennies.

Until they know what Brexit really might mean – which is at least a year away – then this circumspection will prevail. We await September and October’s figures with trepidation.

Our webinars

We’ve a number of InternetRetailing webinars coming up. Lisa Templeton of PFS will join us early next month for an expert advice session on SEO. The forward-thinking marketer’s cheat sheet to SEO is at 2pm on September 8. Click here to find out more and to sign up for the free event.

The following week we’re joined by James Lovell, European retail solutions leader at IBM, to hear how leading brands are using technology to develop a relevant and personalised customer experience. Learn how Boots is developing a personalised customer experience in 4 steps with IBM is at 2pm on September 13. Click here to find out more and sign up for the free webinar.

And on September 22, we hear from Luca Benini, SVP, GM EMEA at Olapic, to get the bottom line on user-generated content and images. He’ll be talking through key research findings on this kind of content in the webinar. What makes UGC relevant for retail is at 2pm on September 22. Click here to find out more and to register for the free event.

The final webinar of the month brings analysis of mobile commerce with Maria Prados, VP global retail, global ecommerce at Worldpay. The face of mobile shopping: how do age and gender affect mobile adoption? is at 2pm on September 29. Click here for more information and to register for the free event.

In October we’ll hear from Ingenico’s Julian Wallis, country manager for the UK and Ireland. He’ll be identifying what retailers must do to accelerate their international ecommerce growth – and do so profitably. Monetising your international reach: six key steps to find ecommerce success overseas is at 2pm on October 18. Click here to find out more and to register for the free event.

Click to visit the Internet Retailing webinars page to catch up on the latest webinars, which are also available to view again on the IRTV channel.

InternetRetailing Events

The 11th InternetRetailing Conference and second eDelivery Conference take place this October. Information and tickets are now available for the two events here.

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on