UK consumers continued to increase their online spending in March in the build up to non-essential retail reopening from 12 April, data from retail expert Salesfire shows.
Online retailers saw a 13% month-on-month increase in March orders, as well as a 19% increase in revenue and 10% increase in online traffic, its figures show.
Fashion performed “particularly well”, with e-tail clothing and accessories retailers seeing a huge 222% year-on-year increase in sales on 31 March, ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
The planned reopening of outdoor hospitality, retailers, hairdressers and gyms on 12 April, as well as the return of the rule of six, were the contributing factors behind the surge in online orders, it noted.
Rich Himsworth, CEO of Salesfire, explained: “With most of the country having spent a cold winter indoors, away from friends and family, the prospect of warmer days with the rule of six being brought back is enough to encourage consumers to spend again.
“The prospect of restrictions lifting over the next few months is exciting for everyone, and we expect to see people treating themselves to some new items ahead of getting back to ‘normal’”.
Although the report failed to predict how e-commerce will perform in the weeks ahead after 12 April, Himsworth noted that “people have got used to shopping from their sofa and, thanks to next-day or same-day delivery, products arrive very quickly – all without the stress of getting into town centres and facing everyday problems like traffic and expensive parking”.
He also highlighted that we could yet see significant changes in retailer and consumer behaviour over the coming months.
He said: “We’ve not known a high street since the Brexit transition was completed, this is another factor to consider when it comes to consumer and retailer behaviour. We’ve also seen the high street continue to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and we may see trends reverse, with online stores popping up on high streets”.