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ONS Figures Reveal Rapid Rise in Online Shopping

27 April 2020 - 13:57 by Paul Tissington

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The latest report from the Office for National Statistics has found that more people are carrying out safe shopping online than ever before, with e-commerce sales accounting for 22.3 per cent of all retail expenditure over the course of March.

It is worth noting that because these figures were taken during the month in which lockdown was introduced to stop the spread of coronavirus, it is likely that April will have seen an even greater spike on online shopping.

Unsurprisingly, the study also found that overall there was a 5.1 per cent drop in the number of retail sales across all platforms, with the high street suffering the most significant dip.

Food sales were up by over a tenth, and there was even more activity in the online groceries market, with a 20 per cent boost to sales recorded as a result of people rushing to place orders for home deliveries of essential items.

With a 12.5 per cent increase in online sales seen year on year in March, the ONS is the latest organisation to confirm expectations that the rollout of store closures for non-essential retailers would make more Brits turn to the web to fulfil their retail needs.

Another factor which is having an impact on retail spending figures at the moment is that the amount of money being spent on fuel is down significantly, since people are working from home and staying isolated. When petrol and diesel sales are taken out of the equation, the actual reduction in retail spending is just 3.9 per cent for March, although it is likely to be much higher for April given that enforced closure of many thousands of high street stores did not come into effect until the final week of last month.