UK’s June e-tail rises, sees beauty surge, but fashion misses out

The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, showed a sales rise of 33.9% year-on-year last month. Surprisingly, it managed to beat the previous month’s growth to become the highest annual result since March 2008.It meant there was little impact from the reopening of the high street as e-stores saw sales building on May’s sharp rise to record further growth of 3.5% month-on-month.

The steep increase was well above the 12, six and three-month rolling averages of +10.7%, +14.7% and +30.3% respectively. This could suggest two things: firstly that consumers remain ultra-cautious about venturing into physical shops; and secondly that having established an online shopping habit during lockdown, they’re going to stick with it.But it wasn’t good news for the fashion sector. While the monthly report said that almost all retail categories continued to see a significant increase in sales, this excluded clothing and its sub-categories. Two key sub-categories that under-performed were footwear (down 18%) and womenswear (down 15%).However, health & beauty sales were up 72.8% “untouched by the reopening of their physical counterparts”. This was surprising on one front given that shops selling these products have largely remained open throughout the lockdown. But it was less of a shock if you assume that it’s suggestive of consumers preparing to go out and about again and needing new beauty products. However, the results for the clothing super category show that many of them don’t feel they need new fashion items at the same time.It was interesting that the gap in performance between online-only and multichannel retailers continued to widen, with the latter recording over five times the growth of the former (+51.7% vs +10%). Multichannel retailers have been the big winners during the lockdown (or at least their online operations have), suggesting that those consumers who went online when they usually would have gone into physical shops preferred to shop with the retailers who stores they regularly visit.

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