Online sales up 60% year on year, ONS shows


October’s retail sales estimates, released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveal sales volumes – both online and offline – increased by 5.8% year on year (YOY), up 1.2% from September’s results.

However, the home delivery specialist ParcelHero says that High Street stores cannot take too much comfort in these figures, as they don’t reflect the impact of Lockdown 2.0, which only started in November. ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, also warns the lion’s share of the increase was led by online sales, up 60.1% YOY.

David says the online results are especially encouraging but they point to increasing delivery problems over Christmas.

“There are some truly astonishing figures for online sales this October. Food sales were up 99.2% YOY to gobble 10.4% of the entire groceries market. All in all, e-commerce now grabs 28.5% of all UK retail sales.

“To put this into perspective we only need to look back to February, the last month before the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Compared to that pre-lockdown period, overall High Street and online sales have increased by 7.9% which is encouraging. However, this has been largely driven by a strong increase in sales online at 52.8%, in comparison to reduced store sales at minus -3.3%.

“All this is great news for online retailers, who even saw a 4.1% jump in sales over September’s strong results, but this surge in home deliveries points to an intensely busy seasonal peak.

“Both consumers and retailers need to carefully plan this year to avoid the impact of this Mount Everest of Christmas peaks.”

For more information on how retailers can reduce the impact of the second wave by comparing carriers’ prices and services, see ParcelHero’s updated guide at

Chris Price
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