Why online retail sales soared during May


With the Royal Wedding, World Cup and two bank holidays – plus copious amounts of sun – it’s fair to say that May 2018 has been something of a ‘feel good’ month.

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This positivity amongst the British people has been reflected in both their physical and online shopping habits, with reports suggesting a 20% rise in online retail sales – the biggest hike since November 2016.

Summer spending

But what sectors have flourished and what is it about social and economic celebrations that entice us to spend more? Well, an article in The Independent suggests that 57% of Britons spend more in the summer months – usually up to a whopping £154.00 per month. Psychologists seem to think that the longer, brighter days make us happier and more inclined to splash our cash in a more carefree manner.

Successful sectors

Indeed, during May some of the key retail sectors that did well were those surrounding clothing (particularly footwear) and gardening. With summer holiday season approaching, the health and beauty sector also did well. These seasonal sectors are not really surprising, and following the excitement over the World Cup and Royal Wedding, customer satisfaction is reportedly up too. With this in mind it is important for retailers – both online and on the High Street – to fully maximise the optimism, excitement and social celebration that quite clearly makes people spend more.

Where does that leave the High Street?

But although it experienced an increase during May, High Street shopping still struggles in comparison to online sales. This is nothing new; the future of shopping is largely online, and whilst there will always be some demand for physical shops, the fact is that many people now choose to shop via their laptops, smartphones, tablets or apps. There is a call for retailers to offer more of an ‘in store experience’ for shoppers on the High Street; digital retail signage (https://moodmedia.co.uk/digital-signage-solutions/), personal shoppers, immersive experiences and re-defining the checkout process are all suggested factors in improving stores, but in many cases they are largely the same as they have always been.

Regardless, consumers are favouring multi-channel avenues for online shopping, and this has accelerated during May thanks to a number of social factors – this can only be a good thing for retailers both on and offline.

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