Ecommerce Update December 2020 & UK Statistics: COVID’s Impact on Black Friday & Christmas Shopping

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We find ourselves in yet another situation which could not have been predicted a matter of months or even weeks ago. What was expected to be a more relaxed Christmas after a national lockdown has become a “light” lockdown with much of the UK under strict restrictions and limited retail shops open on the high street.

COVID-19 is unfortunately still with us and the mutation brings more uncertainty along with it. How will this news impact 2021? How long will much of the country be in tier 4? Will more parts of the UK enter tier 4, or will we slowly see more areas drop down to tier 3, 2, or 1? No-one can say for sure, but it seems we will definitely not be reaching normality any time soon.

How does this new uncertainty impact consumerism and online shopping? November and December are traditionally crucial months for retailers on and offline, and this year is no exception. However, this year we saw a national lockdown in November which coincided with Black Friday and a lot of early Christmas shopping from shoppers looking to get their present-hunting done early with very little else to do than browse the web. It also most likely helped people’s mental health buying presents for loved ones and looking forward to a joyous Christmas which many of us, sadly, will not have this year now.

So what statistics have come out for November 2020 in light of all this?

Global retail ecommerce is set to total a whopping $3.9 billion by the time 2020 is over. This equates to 17% of all retaul sales. China has online sales rising to 25% of the retail market in the region. The UK could see online retail amount to 19.9% of all retil in the yearincluding the automotive industry but excluding food and delivery services.

By 2024, it is expected that online retakl sales will come to $7 trillion annually, and potentially 1/4 of all global retail.

Footfall in the UK is down 29% YOY despite the fact non-essential shops have reopened.

In November 2020, the Office of National Statistics found that retail sale volumes went down 3.8% compared to October due to the lockdown.

Food stores at 3.1% and household goods stores at 1.6% were the only sectors showing growth in terms of monthly sales volumes.

Online retail accounted for 31.4% of all retail in November 2020 – in October 2020, it was 28.6%. This is an overall growth of 74.7% in value of sales compared to November 2019.

YOY growth in retail sales increased 2.4% as consumers brought forward Christmas spending.

Non-store retail has been strong throughout the pandemic – however, there were a reduction in sales in November. This could be down to promotions during October which increased sales earlier. Volume sales in non-store retail stayed 42% higher than February.

So who’s closed down in November? Below you can see the different sectors and which continued to operate.

Source: Office for National Statistics – Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID–19) Survey

The amount spent in stores fell by 6.7% with more people shopping online. The amount spent online increased 6.3% compared to the previous month.

When it comes to specifically online retail, there were growth for the amount spent online across all sectors compared to the previous year.

Online department store sales increased 157%, with household goods ad non-food stores seeing sales increase by 125%. This will be partially down to the fact there was a national lockdown during this month, along with the promotions for Black Friday.

Third-party sellers on Amazon saw a growth of 60% YOY during the Black Friday weekend sales. Amazon had the biggest holiday season yet.

When it comes to UK retailers, UK sales in online stores increased 23% on Black Friday, with a 35% rise in online store visits and 2% increase in conversion rates compared to the previous year. Despite this, it also found a 4% decline in the average order value which can be attributed to promotions and sales in order to encourage more sales.

While we cannot see what 2021 has in store, the fact we may well be walking into a nationwide tier 4 or national lockdown in January where potentially students do not return to school may mean more people spend time online in the early parts of the year.

Hopefully during the Spring we will see a roll-out of vaccines, but by that time it will have been a year of a pandemic and lockdown-life which means consumers will have changed permanently – regardless of what COVID chooses to do.

If you want to step up your ecommerce offering or are simply looking for advice on how to improve your online presence, get in touch with the team at Xanthos who would love to help you grow.