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Spend diverted from online as sales growth plummets in June

13 Jul 2021

LONDON UK – 13 July 2021: Faced with a reopened high street, further easing of lockdown and a comparative twelve-year ecommerce high in 2020, online retail sales continued to fall to record-breaking lows in June, down -14.1% Year-on-Year (YoY). That is according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers. The Month-on-Month (MoM) dip from May of -4.6% was larger than typical for this time of year in pre-pandemic times, and following similar MoM declines in April and May, this made June’s YoY result the biggest drop in the history of the Index.

At a category level, the picture was similarly dour as retailers continue to struggle against high 2020

comparisons. Almost all categories reported negative growth, with the exception of clothing (+18.6%), beers & wines (+20.9%) and – somehow – garden (+19.9%). In this last case, this comes despite the British summer failing to make much of an appearance last month and over a year of people stocking up their patios and garden sheds. Meanwhile in the week that England prepared to play Germany for a place in the Euro 2020 semi-finals (commencing 27 June), beers & wines sales soared by +52.0%.

Further positivity can also be seen in the Average Basket Volume (ABV) as it maintains a steady growth rate for 2021, suggesting an increasing level of consumer comfort with big ticket and volume spend online. In June 2021 the ABV stood at £134, compared to £85 in June 2020.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG: “Growth rates are confusing at the moment – historically low due to tough Year-on-Year comparators and easing of restrictions, though volumes remain very high – but some metrics are more reliable, such as the overall ABV. While there was hardly any increase in ABV between 2019 and 2020, it has shot up across 2021 so far; in June 2021 it was 62% higher than June 2020.

“There are multiple possible causes, but the main one appears to be that retailers in some categories are finding they are less reliant on discounting to drive sales at the moment; with such high demand running down stock and ongoing issues around supply, shoppers are far more likely to buy an item when they see it in stock, rather than shop around for a better price. This is not true of all categories however, with beauty being a notable exception.”

Chris Long, Director, Retail Consulting, Capgemini: “The steep fall in June of -14.1% is a strong indication that consumer confidence is growing to get back out on the high-street as lockdown eases and the vaccine rollout continues. We can expect this shift in spend between online and the high-street to continue, with retailers grappling demand swings and stock challenges across channels to ensure availability for consumers as their shopping habits change.

“Looking ahead it’s going to be interesting to see how the 19th July ‘Freedom Day’ impacts online spend, although most restrictions will be eased for the high-street there is a potential for an increase in self-isolation numbers from track & trace, which could slow the decline in online demand as many rely on home delivery.”



The IMRG Capgemini Sales Index was adjusted in August 2020 to reflect updated historic figures from our retail panel. Previously reported results have been recalibrated to provide a more accurate view of the market index.

About the ‘IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index’

The IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which was started in April 2000, tracks ‘online sales’, which we define as ‘transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels’ from any location, including in-store. 

*Please note from January 2020 the Index no longer includes data from the travel sector

About IMRG

For over 20 years, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) has been the voice of e-retail in the UK. We are a membership community comprising businesses of all sizes – multichannel and pureplay, SME and multinational, and solution providers to industry. We support our members through a range of activities – including market tracking and insight, benchmarking and best practice sharing. Our indexes provide in-depth intelligence on online sales, mobile sales, delivery trends and over 40 additional KPIs. Our goal is to ensure our members have the information and resources they need to succeed in rapidly-evolving markets – both domestically and internationally.

About Capgemini

Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organization of 270,000 team members in nearly 50 countries. With its strong 50 year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fueled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group reported in 2020 global revenues of €16 billion.

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