BWS sales up 52% as Euro 2020 progressed

Online beers, wines and spirits (BWS) sales soared by 52% in the week England prepared to play Germany for a place in the Euro 2020 semi-finals, according to the latest data.

Research by IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of more than 200 retailers, said the sales increase, which refers to the week commencing June 27, occurred despite the British summer failing to make much of an appearance.

Overall online retail sales fell by 14.1% year-on-ear last month, the steepest drop in the history of the index, but reflecting the huge surge in online sales this time last year when Covid-19 measures were still in place.

At a category level the data showed retailers in all sectors were continuing to struggle against the high 2020 comparisons. It said almost all categories reported negative growth, with the exception of clothing, garden and BWS, with the latter up by 20.9%.

Further positivity can also be seen in the Average Basket Volume (ABV) as it maintains a steady growth rate for 2021, suggesting an increasing level of consumer comfort with big ticket and volume spend online. In June 2021 the ABV stood at £134, compared to £85 in June 2020.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG: “Growth rates are confusing at the moment – historically low due to tough Year-on-Year comparators and easing of restrictions, though volumes remain very high – but some metrics are more reliable, such as the overall ABV. While there was hardly any increase in ABV between 2019 and 2020, it has shot up across 2021 so far; in June 2021 it was 62% higher than June 2020.

“There are multiple possible causes, but the main one appears to be that retailers in some categories are finding they are less reliant on discounting to drive sales at the moment; with such high demand running down stock and ongoing issues around supply, shoppers are far more likely to buy an item when they see it in stock, rather than shop around for a better price. This is not true of all categories however, with beauty being a notable exception.”

Chris Long, Director, Retail Consulting, Capgemini: “The steep fall in June of -14.1% is a strong indication that consumer confidence is growing to get back out on the high-street as lockdown eases and the vaccine rollout continues. We can expect this shift in spend between online and the high-street to continue, with retailers grappling demand swings and stock challenges across channels to ensure availability for consumers as their shopping habits change.

“Looking ahead it’s going to be interesting to see how the July 19 ‘Freedom Day’ impacts online spend, although most restrictions will be eased for the high-street there is a potential for an increase in self-isolation numbers from track & trace, which could slow the decline in online demand as many rely on home delivery.”

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