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  • Paul Kelson

UK Online Retail - Highest YoY Growth Since 2008

Total online retailing values increased by 46.1% in 2020 when compared with 2019, the highest annual growth reported since 2008.


Table 2 shows the month-on-month and year-on-year growth rates for the amount spent online, in addition to the proportion of online sales. The percentage weights indicate where money is spent online.

The monthly picture in December 2020 was one of declines, with total online sales falling by 6.2% when compared with November 2020. Household goods stores recorded the largest monthly fall of 27.9% but there were declines across all online sectors, with anecdotal evidence that the re-opening of physical stores in December following restrictions in November saw consumers spending in store again.

Food stores were the only sector to report a monthly increase in online sales in December at 2.6% with retailers citing an uptake in click and collect over the festive period.

In December 2020, there was strong growth in value sales across all sectors when compared with the same month a year earlier. Total online sales increased by 61.4% when comparing with the same month a year earlier. Online food store sales in particular recorded a record year-on-year rise of 126.4% with feedback from retailers suggesting a significant increase in click and collect orders over the Christmas period.

Annual increase in total online retail sales for 2020

In 2020, the amount spent in online retail sales increased by 46.1% when compared with 2019 as a whole, the largest annual increase since 2008.

Food stores reported the largest increase for total online sales in 2020 of 79.3%

All sectors of retail reported large increases in total online sales in 2020. Food stores reported the largest increase in online sales of 79.3% for the year, a record annual increase for the sector. Retailers’ feedback suggested a change in consumer habits caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with a sustained and significant move to click and collect orders.

Department stores, household goods stores and “other” stores also recorded record annual increases in sales for 2020 as a whole, at 65.9%, 73.9% and 73.4% respectively when compared with 2019. Anecdotal evidence from each of the sectors suggested this was again a consequence of physical store closures forcing consumers to shop online for their items during 2020.

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