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Pandemic e-commerce boom ‘nothing more than a positive anomaly’

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New research has shown that the spike in e-commerce sales through 2020 is not set to be matched in 2021 or the near future – though the data is still trending that way eventually.

The proportion of sales made online across all retail rocketed up to 26.2% in 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic and lockdowns around the UK.

This figure is nearly 7% higher than 2019, but according to new research from Butter, a UK buy-now-pay-later travel agency, the figure won’t be matched this year or next either.

The figure is expected to hit only 24.3% in 2021, despite the year also being affected by lockdowns.

Other European countries have experienced similar trends, while it should be noted that as lockdowns become a thing of the past, brick-and-mortar sales should return to near pre-pandemic levels.

Timothy Davis, co-founder and CEO of Butter, commented: “It’s clear that as consumers we value the ease, convenience and variety provided by the e-commerce sector, which is why we’ve seen the proportion of retail sales attributed to e-commerce continue to grow for some time now, and this was massively accelerated by the pandemic and the long stint of lockdown restrictions over the past year and a half.

“That said, 2021 is actually estimated to see the level of e-commerce retail spending decline.

“Whilst this may seem like a negative on the face of it, really it’s just a natural readjustment, and e-commerce spending is still seeing strong growth when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“We expect the huge levels of growth seen in 2020 to remain as nothing more than a positive anomaly in an otherwise stable upwards trend as e-commerce players continue to evolve their consumer offerings.”

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