British online spending rose 2.5% in May


The amount we spent online rose 2.5% in May, the month of the Coronation. The value of e-commerce sales also climbed 6.7% year-on-year. Shoppers put aside inflation woes to enjoy the extra Bank Holiday and prepare for summer, says ParcelHero.

Retail spending rose both on the High Street and online during May, new Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail spending figures reveal.

Brits bought 0.3% more items and spent 0.6% more during the month of the Coronation than they did in April.

The home delivery expert ParcelHero has been crunching the numbers and says e-commerce was the big winner.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks says: ‘People will have jumped online early in the month to buy Coronation party items, from hats to flags, and sales soared for outdoor-related goods and summer clothing.

 ‘Gloomy analysts had been expecting a fall in consumer spending in May, with inflation, the extra Bank Holiday and the supposed collapse of online after its Covid heights all contributing. In fact, the value of all retail sales rose an eye-opening 4.8% year-on year.

‘Stories of the death of e-commerce, in particular, proved greatly exaggerated. The amount we spent online climbed 2.5% over April and 6.7% year-on-year. Online’s share of the overall retail market also climbed, from 26% in April to 26.5% in May.

‘Online sales have held consistently firm at around 26% of the entire consumer spend for a solid year. Struggling online sellers may want to blame their problems on the return to pre-Covid shopping routines, but that’s not the case. Pre-Covid, online took around 19% of all retail sales. For a year now, they have averaged at least 26% of the market.

‘The UK enjoyed something of a boom in tourism during May, because of the Coronation, and that will have boosted spending. However, the big online winner was clothing and footwear, up 10.8% against the previous month and a whopping 17.8% against May 2022. Let’s hope this month’s bumper interest rate increase doesn’t stop this unexpected rise in consumer confidence in its tracks.

Added Mónica Mercado Páez, Head of AI and Data at Virgin Media O2 Business: 

“Today’s ONS data reveal May delivered some of the eagerly anticipated uplift in retail sales, as Brits celebrated May bank holidays and the King’s Coronation in spite of economic pressures. 

“With our Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index finding that 44% of businesses expected revenue spikes over the coronation weekend, retailers remain optimistic that spending and sales will increase – despite ongoing economic challenges.”

Chris Price
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