Monthly online retail sales slow to 5.8% in January

New figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics show that the proportion of retail sales made online fell to 5.8% in January this year, from 9.7% the previous month.

It also marked a decline from a rate of 11% in January 2021, but was up from a rate of 3.2% in January 2020, before the Covid-19 outbreak.

The CSO noted that the share of retail sales generated online in December 2019 was 4.1%.

In the first three months of 2020 – before Covid-19 forced the closure of non-essential stores – the share of online sales held steady at 3.2% in January, 3.5% in February and 4.5% in March.

But following the first Covid lockdown on March 27, 2020, the share of online sales increased significantly and online sales accounted for 15.3% of total revenue in April 2020.

The CSO said there had been similar but less dramatic increases in online sales share during subsequent lockdowns.

The country was placed under Level 5 restrictions for six weeks from October 21, 2020 and was placed under Level 5 restrictions again on December 31, 2020.

Following these confinements, the share of online sales was 12.4% in November 2020, 11% in January 2021 and 11.8% in February 2021, reports the CSO.

Today’s figures show that in December 2019 and before Covid, 7.3% of clothing, footwear and textile sales were made online. This jumped to 66.3% of total industry sales in April 2020 during the first lockdown.

In subsequent lockdowns, the online share was 67.1% in November 2020, 62.7% in January 2021 and 65.9% in February 2021.

In the last months of 2021, the online share of clothing, footwear and textiles sales was 9.6% in October, 14.7% in November and 8.8% in December.

Meanwhile, 5% of department store sales were made online in December 2019, before the pandemic. By April 2020, that figure had risen to 51.1%.

The various lockdowns saw the share of department store online sales reach 28.8% in November 2020, then 26.9%, 35.8% and 28.5% during the months of January, February and March 2021.

Anne G. Cash