The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the UK retail sector dramatically; over 85,000 businesses have decided to launch their products or services online over the last four months. According to Growth Intelligence’s research, conducted using artificial intelligence on millions of business websites across the UK, the fashion and apparel sectors were the first to launch new ecommerce offerings with 8665 retailers paving the way to a new reality.
Other business sectors such as manufacturing, food and drink retail and industrial food production companies moved online launching 7129, 4156, and 3767 new ecommerce offerings respectively, while many of these companies have begun selling direct to consumers online for the first time instead of distributing via third-party retail outlets. Growth Intelligence chief executive Tom Gatten couldn’t be clearer on the new post COVID-19 reality saying “Thousands of businesses are making the most of the tremendous opportunity that growing demand for online shopping is creating. While our data shows a very slow return to what we previously considered ‘normal’, the new environment is opening new markets and this will reinvigorate the economy.”
Data gathered since the reopening of non-essential retail shows no evidence of a slow down in online shopping. According to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, UK online sales jumped 41.3 per cent year-on-year, marking the second strongest growth since lockdown began. “Multichannel retailers saw online sales go from strength to strength despite a hypothesis that the ability to spend in re-opened stores would decrease the reliance on online shopping,” Capgemini’s Lucy Gibbs said.
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