Online retail sales growth hit rock bottom last month, recording its smallest year-on-year growth in 19 year. It was just 1.9% higher than in May 2018, the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index shows
Although total online fashion sales continued to grow – up 8.2% year on year – menswear growth was down 13.3%, and womenswear growth fell 4.8%. Accessories took an even harder hit, and fell 20% year on year – the category’s worst performance in 10 years. The only fashion sub-sector that recorded growth in May was footwear. Online sales rose by 6.7% across the sector.
A “strong” performance in health and beauty resulted in a 22.6% year-on-year increase in online sales. Electrical and gifts categories suffered 27.5% and 18.5% declines respectively.
IMRG strategy and insight director, Andy Mulcahy, said: “May 2018 included the early summer heatwave, the royal wedding and a World Cup looming, and people seemed happy to spend pretty lavishly on retail, so May 2019 was always going to be anchored by it.
“That said, 1.9% growth is far lower than we might have expected – it’s the lowest since we started tracking, so it seems there is something more going on here.
“With all the problems on the high street – changing customer behaviour, shopper confidence low because of all the company voluntary arrangements and negative coverage of major brands, a shifting competitive landscape, and the weather – it’s proving tough to find any positives in the sales performance at the moment.”
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant at Capgemini, added: “When wallet share is being fought over, adapting to customer needs and what is important to them is key. Sectors that differentiate, diversify and better engage shoppers have a greater chance of staying ahead of the game.”