Ecommerce spending in Europe remained strong in the week just ended, tracking at 30% higher than pre-pandemic level, according to Signifyd Ecommerce Pulse data.
The significant growth in online spending was part of an overall rosy picture that has been emerging in European markets as residents and businesses soldier through their fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest data illustrates the point that we live in an omnichannel world and that the push and pull between online and in-store spending is not a zero-sum game. In fact, physical store footfall has been rising by a number of measures, just as ecommerce spending continues to outperform years past.
The Confederation of British Industry reported last week that UK retailers reported their best sales growth in more than a year, now that non-essential retailers have been allowed to reopen.
On the ecommerce side, Signifyd data showed that online sales were up 7% week-over-week during the seven-day period ending Aug. 2, with several commerce verticals showing strong gains.
Beauty & Cosmetics sales were up 32% for the week, after four weeks of disastrous to poor performance. Grocery & Household Goods sales rose 28%, online grocery being one of the big winners in the pandemic. Sales of Alcohol, Tobacco & Cannabis was up 20% for the week and Auto, Parts & Tires saw a 12% increase.
Where online sales slowed down, they did not fall by much. Consumer Medical Supplies & Supplements fell 8% for the week, with Leisure & Outdoor and Fashion, Apparel & Luggage down 5% each.
Of course, week-to-week changes tend to be volatile and affected by any number of short-term, outside forces. The more meaningful numbers are often those that compare sales in retail verticals to a pre-pandemic benchmark. And by those measures, some of the gains are quite extraordinary.
Since the end of February, online sales in the Auto, Parts & Tire vertical are up 253%. In a time when many were stuck at home for long periods, Home Goods & Decor is up 159%. With consumers unable to go out to restaurants and not excited about going to the market, Grocery & Household Goods online sales are up 90%. Leisure & Outdoor sales are up 59%, a sign that those sheltering at home were looking for entertainment.
Meantime, with nowhere to go, online Fashion, Apparel & Luggage sales are down 1% and with many offices closed, Business Supplies are down 9%.
The overall bright picture for ecommerce is beginning to be painted by brick-and-mortar store sales, too. But that shouldn’t be mistaken for the idea that retail, including ecommerce, are headed back to where they were pre-pandemic.
The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop and many of those habits are here to stay. eMarketer recently wrote about their revised projection for the growth of ecommerce in Western Europe. Before the pandemic, the market analytics company predicted an 8.8% increase in sales. Now it is saying that ecommerce sales would increase by 16.9% across Western Europe and by more than 20% in some individual countries.
“Most of these increases will be driven by explosive growth in online sales of consumer packaged goods (CPG), the rise of online grocers and the emergence of click and collect,” eMarketer concluded.
And the truth is, those trends will be with us long after the coronavirus — mercifully — is not.
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