April performance results have been long awaited in online retail, as it marks the beginning of fresh growth after the pandemic. The UK emerged from its last lockdown in April 2021, meaning that the IMRG Capgemini Index now depicts an accurate measure of 2022’s growth against a time when the high street was open as usual, unlike the majority of the years before. So, as Year-on-Year growth is regular again, what does this ‘new normal’ look like?
IMRG reported a -12% YoY growth rate for the month of April, which may not sound too bad compared to -20% from March. However, the retail association suggests that good growth would be around +0-12%, after the positive overall market growth of +12% last year. When compared to last year, it seems that -12% suggests that the market isn’t doing too well. Any retailer who saw positive growth can consider themselves to be showing good levels of growth.
Interestingly, the Average Basket Value (ABV) is at a record high at £146 per average shop. This is due to the increasing cost of living, so acquiring stock is becoming more expensive for retailers, so therefore it’s being sold for higher prices too.
Categories such as Electrical and Beauty are experiencing very poor growth, and have been for a few months, whilst clothing continues to show positive growth (however, it’s still low, which is to be expected after the pandemic as the market makes a recovery).
Conversion rate has dropped since the previous month, down from 2.9 to 2.7%, continuing to dip after peak period in 2021, at which time it sat around 3%.
Traffic for the total market is down -3.4% against April last year, suggesting a dip in consumer demand. This could also be due to a squeeze on spend, which means people are browsing less, and focusing on only the essentials. Clothing is seeing a small uplift in traffic, at +4.1%, likely due to more people shopping for outfits for experiences or holiday wardrobes as people make up for lost time during the lockdowns. Home and Garden has seen a -15% drop in traffic as people spend less time around the house, they’re losing interest in home décor and home improvement.
Retailers can only hope that market growth will level out throughout the rest of the year, as ‘good’ growth might show the market settle between 0-12% against the positive figures of 2021.