E-commerce will continue to grow in 2021, but may slow next year
Following a surge in online sales in 2020, UK shoppers are expected to increase their spending even further as online purchases of £12.48 billion are expected in 2021.
VoucherCodes.co.uk Life after Covid: found online retail, brick-and-mortar stores and payment methods report conducted by Center of Retail Research (CRR). The report reports that despite a turbulent year, online sales grew 46.5% in the UK in 2020, with UK consumers spending £110.6 billion on e-commerce. Online sales are expected to increase further this year by £10 billion (9%), despite brick-and-mortar stores reopening in April 2021.
UK consumers are buying more products online than ever before, and by the end of 2021, online sales will account for nearly a third (30.2%) of total retail spend. This is 11% higher than the share in 2019, before the pandemic.
Looking forward to 2022, total online spending will begin to level off at £120.6 billion, up 0.10%. However, as people resume shopping with a mix of online and brick-and-mortar retail, online sales as a percentage of total retail spend are expected to drop to 28.1%.
In terms of the performance of brick-and-mortar stores during the pandemic, total sales of brick-and-mortar stores decreased by £35.3 billion when comparing the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 periods. However, according to the report, actual sales are expected to increase by £3.9 billion (1.4%) in 2021, suggesting a steady recovery in the coming year.
Despite the increase in offline store sales, the gap between food and non-food stores is expected to be large. Non-food sales in brick-and-mortar stores are expected to grow by 10% (£12.5 billion) between 2020 and 2021, reaching £137.1 billion as people return to stores after prolonged closures. Food sales, on the other hand, are expected to decline 5.4% from 2020 to 2021 as life returns to normal and people spend less time eating and drinking at home.
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