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E-Commerce Activity Falls Again

20 September 2019 - 08:19 by Simon Crisp

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The Office for National Statistics has published figures this week which show that the UK’s market for safe shopping online shrunk slightly last month, with a 3.2 per cent monthly decline in web-based sales hinting at the broader issues which still face the retail industry as a whole.

Analysts were quick to point out that part of the reason for this is that July played host to Prime Day, the annual event that Amazon runs in order to boost sales at a point in the year when they are normally relatively subdued.

Even so, the fact that e-commerce sites experienced a small but significant slip in sales over the course of August is no doubt a sign that this segment of the market is no longer guaranteed to keep on growing regardless of outside economic and political factors, as it has in the past.

The good news is that year on year there was a minor 2.7 per cent uptick in sales last month, which is a slender silver lining indeed.

ONS experts are in agreement with other researchers who have published findings this month, indicating that consumers are choosing to cut down on splashing out on luxuries and instead refocusing their spending on the items that they deem to be essential, especially with the Brexit deadline looming large in late October.

A lot of the doom and gloom is being offset by the fact that wages in the UK are currently growing more quickly than at any point in the past decade, which means that the real culprit causing consternation in the retail sector is a general lack of confidence and an uncertainty surrounding the nation’s future. Once the path ahead becomes clearer, it is likely that spending will grow again in the coming months.