Online Shopping Habits in the UK – 2021

Posted: 7 October 2021

Online shopping has revolutionised over the years, with the global pandemic seeing enormous growth in online sales. We have explored online shopping habits in the UK throughout 2021, looking into the trends following Freedom Day and the hike in online demand.

Interestingly, online spending in July was still elevated even after the restrictions easing and shops re-opening on July 19th. Online demand is high with inflation up, largely motivated by home, garden, books, and grocery shopping. In 2020, we saw a large increase in loungewear and casual wear purchases, which remain high despite the lifting of the restrictions. Additionally, office clothing sales have also risen with individuals returning to the office following Freedom Day.

With the impact of Covid-19, 2021 online sales as of July have seen a YoY growth of 3%, resulting in a 2-year growth of 53%, bringing in a total of £10.0 billion. According to an Adobe Analytics survey, 35% of customers over the last four weeks can say they are spending more online than ever before.

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Online Shopping Trends

Staycations

We’ve seen a rise in the number of staycations here in the UK since the arrival of the global pandemic and easing of restrictions. With overseas travel causing significant disruptions there are just 29% of consumers claiming they have booked a holiday abroad over the last three months. An additional 29% of those living in the UK are spending more on staycations which have seen an increase in spend online for goods for local holiday excursions, such as tents, outdoor camping chairs, and sleeping bags.

Weather Impacts

With the arrival of heatwaves and floods, there has been a surge in reactive online spending on weather-dependent items, such as outdoor clothing, fans, and air conditioning units. Both fans and air conditioning units have seen a 120% growth in online sales when looking at Adobe Analytics statistics of online sales through June and the first three weeks of July.

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Office Wear

Both office wear and casual wear have seen online sales rocket with workers returning to the office. 39% of respondents say they have returned to the office full time for the first time since March 2020 since the arrival of Freedom Day. Casual clothing sales have surged at 600% up in the time frame of 1/1/2021 – 28/2/2021 when compared to the same time frame in the pre-pandemic period. Additionally, office attire including more formal wear saw a rise in sales of 200% throughout the same time period.

Online Inflation

The UK has seen a rise in inflation, up 2.8% YoY in July. Groceries, Home and Garden, Books, Clothing, and Jewellery have all contributed to the inflation rates seen within the UK this year. With consumers receiving a satisfactory service online, the increase in the price of these items this year is not having a negative impact on online sales. Surprisingly, even with the lift in restrictions, UK consumers are still planning to purchase their grocery shop online with 26% of households doing this monthly and 35% weekly.

All statistics are taken from Adobe Digital Economy Index August 2021