Ecommerce sales continued to provide a few bright spots for retail in Europe, where in-store spending has been devastated by stay-at-home orders and the temporary closure of brick-and-mortar stores.
Overall, ecommerce sales in Europe were up 96% last week compared to the last week of February, which serves as a pre-pandemic benchmark. In fact, more than half of the retail verticals that the Ecommerce Pulse regularly tracks were up week over week for the seven-day period ending May 24.
Luxury goods continued to show strength, up 14% for the week, though not the same strength that resulted in a 51% rise in sales the previous week.
Fashion, Apparel & Luggage showed its first week of increased sales since the last week of April. Though sales were up only 5%, the positive weekly change was only the fourth up week since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11.
In fact, three categories — Leisure & Outdoor, Grocery & Household Goods, and Alcohol, Tobacco & Cannabis — all reversed negative weeks by reporting week-over-week increases in sales for the period ending May 24. Leisure & Outdoor and Grocery & Household Goods were each up 8%. Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis sales increased 12% after falling 16% the previous week.
Consumer Medical Supplies & Supplements experienced the biggest turnaround and not for the better. After experiencing a 36% increase in sales in the week of May 11, the category reversed course last week with sales dropping by 36%.
Besides medical supplies, the hardest hit verticals last week included Business Supplies, down 22%, and Beauty & Cosmetics, which plunged 16% after seeing a 21% increase in sales the previous week. The Electronics category was also down 16% for the week just ended.