Another bonanza for online traders

Girl shopping online with credit card
The surge in online sales looks set to continue, with shoppers predicted to further increase their spending as new data forecasts £120.48bn at the end of this year.

Research carried out by the Centre of Retail Research (CRR), examined the impact of the pandemic on both online and offline retailing and looked ahead to 2022 to understand how online sales will be impacted as the UK recuperates from Covid.

Last year online sales almost doubled with consumers spending £110.6bn online as physical stores were forced to close. Despite them re-opening in April, a further increase of £10bn is expected for online sales this year

Looking ahead to 2022, total online spend will begin to level out, marginally increasing by 0.10% to £120.6bn. But it is estimated that the share of online sales as a proportion of total retail spend will fall to 28.1 per cent as people get back to shopping at a mix of online and offline retailers.

In terms of the performance of physical outlets during the pandemic, total sales in bricks and mortar stores fell by a colossal £35.3bn when comparing the period 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. But the report shows a steady recovery for the year ahead, with a forecasted increase of £3.9bn (1.4%) in physical sales in 2021.

It is also expected that there will be a large disparity between food and non-food stores. Non-food sales are expected to rise by 10% (£12.5bn) between 2020 and 2021, reaching £137.1bn as people return to the shops after long periods of closure.

Food sales on the other hand will see a 5.4 per cent decline as life returns to normal and people spend less time eating and drinking at home.

Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at which commissioned the research said: “The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for many changes in the retail industry, especially the migration of more consumers to online shops and people relying more heavily on online retailers than in the past.

“Despite a difficult economic period, it’s encouraging for the UK’s retail industry to see that shoppers are still keen to spend money in-store as well as online. Whilst physical stores have struggled over the past year, it’s great to see a real desire from consumers to get back to shopping in-store.

“That said, it’s important for people to remember to purchase within their means and shop around for the best deals.”

The full report can be found here

Physical-digital: the online future