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Online shopping sales slump to lowest levels since before pandemic


The cost of living crisis has hindered the online shopping sales boom with digital sales falling to their lowest levels since before the pandemic.

The number of online sales fell by 3.3 per cent during May as punters, under the cosh, have had to cut down on the number of goods they buy from digital retailers such as Asos and Amazon, according to figures from BDO.

Online shopping surged in popularity during the pandemic, as nationwide lockdowns limited trading on high street stores.

Data from the ONS found UK online sales in January 2021, when the UK was still in the middle of various lockdowns, accounted for 35.2 per cent of all retail.

However as in-store businesses have resumed normal trade and the economy is battling high inflation the trend appears to be dying down.

With many Brits feeling a strain on their personal finances, it appears that high street retailers are also suffering with total in-store sales growing by just 1.0 per cent across the month.

The homeware market performed the worst with total like-for-like sales falling by 9.2 per cent in May, as the public shies away from investing in home improvements to save costs.

Despite summer approaching, the fashion sector  also suffered recording a third consecutive month of poor results, with total like for like  sales falling by 1.5 per cent  in May from last year’s base of 27.6 per cent.

This is the first time in over two years that the fashion sector has recorded negative sales growth.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, said: “These results are extremely discouraging. LFLs are an absolute value and therefore, given the high inflation rates, these figures suggest significant drops in volumes.

“With three Bank Holidays last month and the fact that footfall has increased compared to this time last year, these results highlight the huge pressure on the consumer purse.

“Retailers are not just competing with each other, but also with the hospitality and leisure sectors for every pound of discretionary spending. The drop in online sales is also stark,  recording the worst online sales results on record with the exception of the months impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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