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Women’s Euro win and summer heat wave reduce online retail sales decline in July

8 Aug 2022
  • UK online retail sales were down just -2.3% Year-on-Year (YoY) in July
  • This represents the joint lowest-decline the Index has seen this year – and a considerable improvement on the 3- (-3.6%), 6- (-13.5%) and 12-month (-18.1%) averages
  • The week leading into the 40-degree heat wave saw the strongest growth for any week so far in 2022 at 5.8%
  • Average Basket Value (ABV) has dropped slightly again this month (£140.46), suggesting a possible shift in customer spending behaviour

LONDON UK – 8th August 2022: Online retail sales growth dipped -2.3% year-on-year (YoY) in July 2022. That’s according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks online sales for 200 retailers. While this is a continuation of the negative growth that has been consistent across 2022, it was building on a relatively mild decline of -5.4% in July 2021, which makes it seem a slightly better performance than it has been in previous months.

The two major events in July, Britain’s hottest day on record and the women’s Euro tournament, appear to have been factors influencing the improved YoY result – as is evidenced when looking at the weekly breakdown. While three of the four weeks in July saw negative growth, week commencing 10 July – the week leading up to the hottest day – was up +5.8% YoY, only the second time any week has been positive this year.

The categories driving that result were electricals (as people purchased fans, reflected in a marked drop in average spend for that category), clothing (where people may have looked for loose-fitting items) and garden. For the month as a whole however, only clothing (+11.9%) and garden (+3.3%) recorded positive growth.

The heatwave made it more difficult to trace any uplifts directly attributable to the success of the Euros tournament, as electricals, beers, wines and spirits and clothing would be the main categories that could see a spike. For clothing, where sports items would be classed, the conversion rate across July was in line with that of the same weeks in 2021, whereas it had been down slightly for the rest of the year. This suggests there may have been some early influence, which may become clearer in August’s figures.

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG: “It seems remarkable that it took the hottest day in British history and England actually winning a football tournament to produce only slightly negative growth – it does make you wonder what would need to happen for it to be positive. Black Friday / peak season trading looks like it might be very difficult this year, given the Bank of England has increased interest rates and inflation is expected to reach 13% by then. In April, the energy cap went up and people saw the NIC rise in their pay packets, consequently sales in the first week of May fell through the floor. It seems likely the next energy cap rise in October will do something similar to the start of peak trading.”

Simon Binge, Commerce Senior Manager, Customer Transformation at Capgemini: “As the pressure on their spend continues to mount, consumers are having to make tough choices with regards to their purchasing behaviour, and the July data suggests that seeking value for money is more important than ever. The growth in order volumes (+26.1%) of premium footwear retailers combined with lower basket values implies consumers are seeking value through quality, albeit in more affordable options or during promotional discounts. Whereas in an adjacent category – womenswear – the growth of budget retailers (+9.6%) and the decline of premium retailers (-6.4%) supports the trend that consumers are willing to switch brands in the pursuit of value.”

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.

About IMRG

For over 20 years, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) has been the voice of online 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 indices provide in-depth intelligence on online sales, mobile sales, delivery trends and over 80 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 organisation of over 350,000 team members in more than 50 countries. With its strong 55-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, fuelled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group reported in 2021 global revenues of €18 billion.

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