Effect of store re-openings on eCommerce performance


Non-essential shops in the UK have been open since April, you can even go for a drink and watch the football in the pub now! So how is all this affecting the eCommerce market? 

We take a look at the impact of reopening stores on overall online performance and also a quick look at how some product categories are fairing.

eCommerce's slice of the retail pie

In May, online sales accounted for 27.3% of all retail sales, according to the Office of National Statistics. This figure was 29.4% in April. This is down somewhat compared to its peak of 36.3% that it reached in Nov 2020 and again in Jan 2021.

27.3% of all retail sales were online in May. (ONS)

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When we compare current online figures to the incredible growth of 2020 it may not look impressive, but I’m sure no one has forgotten that it was a year with a unique set of circumstances. For this reason, comparing year on year is problematic.


In 2020 there was no choice but to purchase online for anything that wasn’t essential, we are now seeing many factors affect online sales for example the fact that hospitality is now open and people have a choice on where to spend their money. 

Source: ONS

Online categories compared to last year

Let’s take a look at how the categories that performed best in 2020 are doing in June this year. As expected, there’s been a drop in online sales for these products, but they had big numbers to live up to. The below stats are according to IMRG’s Capgemini index.

Health & Beauty – Last June, Health and Beauty was riding high at 160%+, it’s currently down 50%, which is a significant drop. 

Gifts – The Gift category saw notable growth this time last year were up 90%, they’re down 40% this June, so not doing as well now that shops are open. 

Home – Homeware is down 22% this June, compared to 100%+ growth last year.  

Electricals – This category is only down 9% and suggests electricals sales are not running out of steam. Last June they were up 120%.

Beer, wine and spirits – Comparing BWS to last year might seem unfair, as it was +200% this time last year, but this is still up +60% in June 2021. 


People can now have friends and family over for barbeques and going to bars and restaurants isn’t the same pleasant experience that it was pre-pandemic with all the measures that are (necessarily) in place.

Garden – doesn’t seem to be running out of steam, it reached 800%+ in March when people were allowed to visit each others gardens. still in positive growth at 9% compared to 150+ this time last year. Phenomenal performance

Clothing – probably thee worst hit from pandemic. no one going anyeahere. 

went up to 170% in March when things started to relax and people could meet up but then dropped off and is hovering around the 20-30% YoY growth – not expected to go above that 


While it’s true that eCommerce growth figures aren’t as impressive as those in 2020, it’s good to bear in mind that there are still huge volumes going through online. Many retailers are still riding the wave of the eCommerce boom and are now focusing their attention on how best to retain the legions of new customers. 

Scurri is a complete delivery management platform that powers ordering, shipping and delivery. Get in touch today if you want to learn more about growing your eCommerce business through smart delivery.

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