Online & fashion miss out on New Year sales boom

Online & fashion miss out on New Year sales boom

Led by supermarket and food sales, retail spending soared by 3.9% in January, according to new official figures. However, the home delivery expert ParcelHero cautions New Year fashion and online sales failed to register. Online spending tumbled by -4.1% last month.

Following a disastrous pre-Christmas sales slump in December, Brits turned to comfort eating and bargain shopping in January, says the home delivery expert ParcelHero. Sales volumes soared by 3.4% in January 2024 over December 2023, and the amount we spent rose by 3.9%, according to new retail figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

However, although the ONS says food stores such as supermarkets contributed most to the increase, ParcelHero warns online and fashion sales missed out on January’s retail rebound.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., says: ‘Recession? What recession? It’s great to see the majority of retail sectors bounce back after a torrid December. Food sales volumes boomed by 3.4% and juicy January Sales meant department store sales volumes rose by 5.4% and other non-food stores (such as sports equipment stores) rose by 6.2%.

‘However, it’s not necessarily good news for British consumers. We all spent more for less, thanks to inflation. While we bought 3.4% more in terms of volumes, the amount we spent rose by 3.9%. And those New Year sales failed to tempt us into buying clothes. Fashion and footwear sales volumes were down -1.4% in January against December.

‘We also spent a significant -4.1% less online last month. That means the proportion of sales made online fell from 26.8% of all retail spending in December down to 24.8% in January. That’s a surprise as, following a post-Covid bubble slump, online sales have been averaging around 26% of all retail sales for more than a year. E-commerce retailers will be warily watching the next set of monthly sales figures, to see if this was just a temporary blip. The better news for online sellers is that the value of retail sales was actually up 1% against January 2023.

‘Again, it was fashion sales that tumbled the most. Online clothing sales values plummeted by -15.1% in January against December. Of course, last-minute online Christmas gift shopping for clothes in December will be part of the reason for the contrast with January. However, it looks as if fashion stores need to up their game in terms of New Year sales, both online and in store.

 ‘As retail settles to a new equilibrium, it will be those retailers with strong in-store and online sales that will ultimately triumph after a concerning start to the year. ParcelHero’s influential report “2030: Death of the High Street” has been discussed in Parliament. It reveals that, unless retailers develop an omnichannel approach, embracing both online and physical store sales, the High Street as we know it will reach a dead-end by 2030. Read the full report at:

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