All types of UK retailers have reported an increase in their proportion of online spending in January 2021, with food stores reaching an historic high of 12.2% of sales conducted online.
That’s according to the latest data from the ONS, which reveals that in January 2021 total retail sales volumes decreased by 8.2% when compared with December 2020 as tighter nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions affected sales.
In terms of online specifically, other non-food stores recorded the largest monthly growth of 31.1%, while household goods and food stores also saw significant monthly increases of 22.6% and 11.5% respectively. Department stores were the only sector to see a decline on the month of negative 9.1%.
The proportion of online retail increased to a record level in January 2021 reaching 35.2% up from 29.6% in December 2020 and was far higher than the 19.5% in January 2020, reflecting the impact the pandemic has had on consumer behaviours.
Food stores also reported a record proportion of online sales this month of 12.2% with anecdotal feedback from retailers suggesting that click and collect food orders had boosted online sales.
As a whole, retail sales volumes were 5.5% lower than before the pandemic in February 2020 indicating that the impact of restrictions on the retail sector was not as large as that seen in April 2020 during the first full month of retail restrictions when sales fell by 22.2% when compared with levels before the pandemic.
All sectors saw a monthly decline in volume sales in January 2021 except for non-store retailers and food stores, who reported growth of 3.7% and 1.4% respectively when compared with December 2020.
In the three months to January 2021, retail sales volume fell by 4.9% when compared with the previous three months, with strong declines in both clothing stores and automotive fuel.