UK e-Commerce surge leads the way post lockdown

As the UK and rest of the world spent the majority of the year isolating and stuck at home, many of us turned to the internet and online shopping as a way of meeting our consumer needs. As a result, retailers have seen a significant acceleration in the growth of online commerce.

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in the second quarter of 2020, U.S. e-Commerce retail sales rose to $211.5 billion, up 31.8% from the first quarter and 44.5% from the same period last year. Additionally, the data shows that e-Commerce grew as much in three months as it had over the past five years combined.

Biju Dominic, Chairman of FinalMile Consulting said, “This was a time when the digital shopping shows what it is really capable of”.

How does this relate to the UK market? Well, the UK e-Commerce market’s growth was greater than the US market, some accrediting to stricter lockdown measures. Furthermore, Statista data shows an increase in UK online orders of 161% in May from the previous year. Although the statistics show a slow decrease from May e-Commerce sales, the numbers are still up by 40% regardless of people now being able to return to their local retail stores.

According to analysts at Edge Retail Insight, the surge in online shopping caused by the pandemic is expected to add £5.3 billion to UK e-Commerce sales this year, resulting in a total of £78.9 billion.

Xian Wang, Senior Director of Product and Content at Edge by Ascential, said“The COVID-19 pandemic has almost certainly had a lasting impact on the retail sector, reshaping consumer shopping habits, and the priorities for retailers and brands. Most prominently, we’re seeing a significant shift to online, as consumers have become reliant on this, following the swathe of store closures globally. This will no doubt lead strong e-Commerce players, such as Amazon, to benefit from this greatly.”

Whilst on the topic of online sales, in June 2020, CI.N discussed recommendations by the Government’s scientific advisers to the Department for Transport to enforce a ‘plastic bag tax’ style charge on all consumer deliveries from online retail sales.

As consumer trends change to favour online sales, many retailers are competing for top places in a crowded retail space by offering relaxed returns policies and free next day delivery. The Times claim that this has resulted in a nationwide increase in the number of delivery vans on the road, something that further contributes to pollution problems and congestion issues, the Government is likewise tasked with solving.

Additionally, data from the Department of Transport shows that emissions from vans has leapt 43% between 2007 and 2017.