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Online BWS sales shoot up again

Published:  10 August, 2021

Online beer, wine and spirits (BWS) sales shot up once again, posting 29.9% year-on-year growth in July compared to the previous month, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index released today.

Not only were sales boosted by the removal of restrictions and consumers returning to social gatherings, but also by England reaching the final of the Euro 2020 football tournament.

Overall online retail sales meanwhile fell 9.6% year-on-year, compared to June’s 14.1% drop, and after recording the steepest drops in the history of the Index for two months in a row. 

“July online performance continues to be dampened against the highs of last year (-9.6%), with many categories in the negative, though overall performance is up 38% versus 2019,” said Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant – Retail Lead for Analytics & AI, Capgemini.

“BWS was notably up 29.9% this month as the Euros and other sporting events gave cause for celebration and commiseration, alongside newfound freedoms for social gatherings,” she said.

Higher order volume growth than the previous month and a lower basket value also indicated that the increase in overall event-based purchases had driven the positive alcohol sales this month, added Gibbs. 

With the fall in overall retail sales appearing to be slowing, this could signal a return to stability in the near future, said Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG.

“In July 2021, month-on-month (MoM) growth was ahead of where it usually is at this point of the year; with the amount spent online declining 4.4% against June, whereas -8% was typical in 2020 and 2019. For the previous three months, the MoM rate has tracked below where it would normally be as shopper spend has been redistributed across other areas following the phased easing of restrictions.

“Perhaps the ‘pingdemic’ has played a role here, as so many people were forced into isolation, but it’s also tempting to suggest that we might be starting to see what the much-feted ‘new normal’ will actually look like from a retail perspective,” he said.

The IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.