A Deep Dive into Q2 with Trends

By Harriet Stout • Last updated: Wednesday Feb 1st, 2023

A sea trek helmet

The second quarter of 2021 saw some big changes; non-essential bricks and mortar stores reopened their doors to the public again, travel plans were announced and we could finally meet friends and family indoors for a meal.

Despite the inevitable shift in trends, we have seen a huge growth in eCommerce retail over the past year and online shopping is well and truly here to stay.

We took a closer look at the data collected from Trends throughout Q2 to benchmark changes and learn about the significant variations over the past three months.

Non-essential retail reopens

With retail back open, both business and consumer confidence grew as a result of vaccine rollouts and extended state support. People were encouraged to leave their homes and migrate to the high street once again.

According to a recent study by the Office of National Statistics, the UK economy grew by 2.3% in April, but still remains 3.7% below pre-pandemic figures.

Looking into Trends data showed that eCommerce saw an initial 12.2% decline in orders overall from the first week of shops reopening, however from our initial findings, this appears to only be a temporary dip and sales figures are slowly beginning to rise again.

Trends recorded a reduction in revenue by 18.8% for the health and beauty category in the first week of re-opening with footwear seeing orders dropping by 9.03% and orders of sporting equipment taking a 8.8% hit; categories which had ultimately encountered positive growth online since the first lockdown in 2020.

Travel lists boost sales

In May, we saw hospitality venues reopen and consumer assurance recover to pre-lockdown levels.

Travel companies recorded an 120% increase in revenue on 8th May, the day after the green list was announced. Demand continued to surge, with the reminder to remain prepared for last-minute amendments if the guidelines changed.

As countries moved back into amber and red lists, however, so did revenue with Trends recording a 45.73% decrease upon the announcement of restricted travel lists on 3 June.

The rise and fall in travel bookings shows the consumer demand that is building for holidays. We expect to see the sector thrive if restrictions continue to allow for staycations and eventually venturing abroad.

Summer sun impacts consumer spending

With the anticipation of good weather, socialising and summer holidays on the horizon, Trends picked up some striking data across several industries as people began to prepare for lockdown coming to an end.

Whilst in-store experiences were spending hotspots initially, eCommerce businesses continued to step-up their digital offerings to stay relevant and keep shoppers returning to the convenience of online retail.

Offering the perks they were able to make use of during lockdown such as free delivery and returns, flexible payment options and easy price comparisons, online sites have been able to keep hold of the gains they have made in the last year.

2nd May was a particularly popular day for the gardening and accessories industry, which saw a 99% YoY increase in sales, showing that people were taking full advantage of meeting loved ones outdoors again, no matter the weather.

The fashion industry also saw an impressive 196% YoY increase in orders on 27th May, which demonstrates that consumers were shopping in style categories for the sunny spring bank holiday weekend and bagging last-minute outfits.

As the government lifted the next phase of restrictions on 17th May, Trends recorded a 70% decrease in orders in the home and living industry. This could be the likely result of shoppers turning their attention to other markets as the country opens up again and activities such as DIY, decorating and furnishing living spaces are no longer a priority.

Looking forward

Our findings show that consumers are clearly excited for restrictions to end, but will these trends continue with the ongoing eCommerce focus in the future?

With the promise of sunny weather throughout June, people may want to spend less time browsing on their devices and online performance could suffer in comparison to last year.

It may be too early to predict how consumer behaviour will change over the coming months, but with the data from Trends reiterating that customers are still eager to shop online for ease and convenience, the reign of eCommerce looks here to stay.

To keep up to date with the changes as they happen make sure to follow us on Trends and sign up to receive regular updates.

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