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Ecommerce spending roars back in Europe despite brick-and-mortar store re-openings


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European consumers turned to ecommerce during the week just ended with an enthusiasm not seen since the end of June, boosting online spending to a level 20% higher than the previous week. 

The buying binge follows seven weeks in which spending online either declined or increased by single-digit percentages. As always, the good news wasn’t universal for the seven-day period ending August 30, but the week produced far more winners than losers.

Notable among the latter was Fashion, Apparel & Luggage, which saw sales decline 8%, despite the fact that students are heading back or have headed back to school in many countries. As with everything during the COVID-19 pandemic, the old rules don’t apply. It’s possible that back-to-school spending will be atypical with families wondering whether schools really were going to open and for how long they’d stay open. 

Auto, Parts & Tires, which has been on an impressive, long-term run, also saw a decline in sales, with receipts dropping 17% week-over-week. The category’s fortunes for the entire pandemic period look quite different, with sales up 127% since early March.

Nearly every other vertical saw an increase in sales for the week. Business Supplies, which has been battered by the pandemic (sales are down 27% since early March) was flat, with its sales figure not moving in either direction. 

Two verticals that have had their share of extremely disappointing weeks during the pandemic, showed dramatic week-over-week growth, according to Signifyd’s latest Ecommerce Pulse data. 

Beauty & Cosmetics had its second best week since the World Health Organization declared the global pandemic in March. Sales were up 48% for the week, a showing better than every week of the pandemic, save the week ending April 5, when the category saw a 54% increase in sales. 

Luxury Goods, which has registered several double-digit-percentage weekly losses during the pandemic, finished the week with sales up 61%, an impressive turnaround from last week’s 23% slide. 

As we’ve mentioned, week-to-week score-keeping in ecommerce can be fraught with peril. Many different factors affect sales in the seven-day short-run — everything from seasonality in fashion and sports, to weather, to major news stories, to holidays and on and on. 

But what shouldn’t be lost in the most recent Ecommerce Pulse data is the fact that ecommerce spending overall in Europe is up 53% since pre-pandemic times. As consumers become more accustomed to life with the coronavirus and new routines become, well, routine, it seems the greater shift to online shopping is a real thing.

Mike Cassidy

Mike is lead storyteller at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at mike.cassidy@signifyd.com; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.