UK e-commerce sales up 72% in May

E-commerce sales rose 72 per cent year-on-year in the UK in May, as the pandemic continues to drive shoppers online, according to new data from Mastercard.

The payment giant’s SpendingPulse tracker, which measures overall retail sales across all types of payment, found that online spend continued to rise in May compared to April, which saw an increase of 64 per cent growth compared to April 2019.

In the UK, total retail sales for May were down 13.6 per cent year-on-year as the shutdown of non-essential stores continued, while e-commerce sales were up 72.3 percent, underscoring the broader shift to digital in how Britain works, lives and shops.

During April and May, e-commerce as a share of total retail sales reached 33 per cent, marking an unprecedented high which analysts expect to continue beyond the lifting of lockdown.

Consumers are also focused on staples versus spending on luxury, the data showed. Retail sales estimates for May show e-commerce spending on groceries increased by 76 per cent year-on-year compared to a 14 per cent year-on-year increase in e-commerce spend on luxury items.

Janne Karppinen, head of retail at Mastercard, said: “There has been an undeniable shift to online shopping over the past two months.

“The question is whether these trends will continue for the long-term - we’ve seen some redistribution of sales away from the High Street into online channels and this could have a huge impact on how retailers blend their online and physical footprints in the future.”

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