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Online BWS sales double during May

Published:  05 June, 2020

Online sales of beers, wines and spirits boomed during May, as the UK’s second month under lockdown drove a record numbers of thirsty consumers to embrace ecommerce.

The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index reveals that online sales in BWS climbed 94.9% year-on-year, against a backdrop of all online retail growing to a 12-year high, up 32.7%.

The BWS category experienced the third biggest uplift, after home and garden sales (up 138%) and electricals (up 102.8%), with the May Bank holiday and long sunny spell of weather cited as contributing to the upswing.

Online retail sales in April, the first full month under lockdown, had already risen collectively by 13.6% over the previous year, with the report saying that: “Covid-19 continued to reshape the retail landscape in May, as consumers acclimatised to the enforced shift of shopping online.”

Moreover, across all online retail, multi-channel operators generated the biggest uplift, outperforming pure online retailers, with those pivoting their focus to online experiencing a collective 53.1% uplift, against just 10.1% for the online specialists.

Speculating on how much of this online uplift would remain as lockdown is eased and retailers open their physical doors again, Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG, said that there were two aspects that would answer that question – “demand and culture”.

“Much spend has been forced online, and often in an artificially-inflated way… once demand returns there, will it be in stores – where 30-minute queues to get in will quickly become tiresome – or online, which is by its very nature socially-distanced?

“It seems reasonable to assume demand and culture will have been forever altered,” he surmised.