Online retail sales reported positive growth in April despite the easing of restrictions, although sales did decline on a month-by-month basis.

Overall online sales increased by 10.2% last month compared with April 2020, the first full month of the UK’s initial lockdown, according to the IMRG Capgemini Retail Index.

Overall sales growth for the month of April was also below the rolling three-, six- and 12-month averages of 50.4%, 50.1% and 49.8% respectively.

Electricals reported the first drop in sales in 19 months in April 2021, with sales falling by almost 4%.

Demand for garden products also fell for the first time since restrictions were introduced. Sales declined by 13.3% in April against strong year-on-year comparables. 

Health and beauty products also reported a 9% slump in sales.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, said: “While online growth might have dropped away from 70-80% between January and March to 10% in April, this is largely as growth rates are now comparing with pandemic-period rates from 2020, which were so strong that it is hard to build upon that performance.”

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant and retail lead at Capgemini, added: “It has been over a year since the first UK lockdown; therefore growth online on top of this is significant.

“We can see the impact of the reopening of the high street when we look at month-on-month figures; however, despite the strong growth, we would typically see April compared with March as flat – this year April is -12% lower.”

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