After recording the steepest drops in the history of its Online Retail Index for two months in a row, IMRG-Capgemini state that the fall in online retail sales appears to be slowing – down just -9.6% YoY in July.

The easing is particularly apparent in terms of WoW breakdown, says IMRG-Capgemini, with the first week of July down -14% versus just -5.5% in the final week. Other signs could be seen in the MoM figure, where a drop of -4.4% was lower than would be expected between June and July according to pre-pandemic patterns, and in the Average Basket Volume (ABV), which reached its highest total spend for 2021 at £134 – up +60% against July last year.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG, says: “In July 2021, MoM growth was ahead of where it usually is at this point of the year; with the amount spent online declining -4.4% against June, whereas -8% was typical in 2020 and 2019. For the previous three months, the MoM rate has tracked below where it would normally be as shopper spend has been redistributed across other areas following the phased easing of restrictions.

“Perhaps the ‘pingdemic’ has played a role here, as so many people were forced into isolation, but it’s also tempting to suggest that we might be starting to see what the much-feted ‘new normal’ will actually look like from a retail perspective. If that MoM measure is starting to plot the established trading patterns that naturally go up and down at various times of year, the question of how much volume will stick online following the pandemic will have been answered.”

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant - retail lead for analytics & AI, Capgemini, adds: “Some categories are likely to maintain online behaviours better than others, where new-found convenience versus the missed ‘hands-on’ in store experiences and service is a differentiator.”