While more lockdown restrictions were introduced across the UK in September, online sales growth normalised to pre-Covid levels.

In comparison to the surge in online shopping seen in the first few months of lockdown, September saw a steady growth of 42% year on year according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini online retail sales index.

As customers brace for further lockdown restrictions and the impact of Brexit, this figure was below the six-and three-month averages of 44.87% and 43.77% respectively but was still well above the 12-month average of 25.75%.

Month on month, online sales grew 5.35%, in line with the 6.5% growth seen in the same month last year – meaning figures are starting to normalise.

Multichannel retailers continued to outperform their pureplay counterparts, achieving a 62.7% growth compared with 19.6%.

The sales were largely driven by demand for health and beauty, and home and garden, seeing 78.5% and 76.3% sales increases respectfully.

Following the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, electricals were also up 101.8%.

With seasonal weather changes, clothing categories saw an encouraging lift in sales, particularly menswear, which was up 20.5% year on year.

IMRG strategy and insight director Andy Mulcahy said: ”September marked a new phase in the Covid outbreak as, after three months of easing restrictions and encouraging work/life/social interactions to resume, restrictions started to be reimposed.

“The situation is somewhat different to how it was in March though, and it didn’t trigger an upsurge in online sales. Growth is still very strong, but the weekly and monthly trend lines are fluctuating in line with what we’d expect to see this time of year.

“From here, that could change. October has seen much stricter measures come into force across the UK plus the new three-tier system. With rising infection rates and potential for more restrictions, the attractiveness of physical retail may decline further.

“This makes Super Saturday – the busiest day leading into Christmas Week – problematic, as that volume will have to be diverted away from places like Oxford Street to elsewhere, most likely online, with serious proximity to Christmas, so retailers and carriers will be hoping people spread their spending out to avoid that bottleneck.”