Insight of the Month – April 2018
Total online retail visits grew by 6.7% in April YoY, which was slower than March and February’s rises of 7.1% YoY. The earlier timing of Easter (falling at the start of the April in 2018, compared to the end of April in 2017) and turbulent weather conditions impacted both the high street and online results.
Freezing temperatures at the start of the month had driven shoppers online, with searches for indoor renovations like “mould paint”, “indoor plants” and “bed with storage” growing 30%+ compared to last year’s Easter. Garden improvements were also last in consideration, with garden product searches dipping by 40% over Easter YoY. The second half of the month did bring some relief to the sector; House & Garden recovering sharply as weather conditions improved in time for the Early May Bank holiday.
The welcomed heatwave in the latter half of April also boosted Clothing, Fitness and Footwear (+13.1% in April visits YoY), Health and Beauty (+9.8%) and Department Stores (+9.2%). But not all sectors saw a jump, with Books, Stationary and Home Entertainment declining by 4% YoY, continuing their struggle to compete with multi-category retailers and pure players.
There were several key learnings from April’s results: the shift from the high street to online has accelerated, and the weather has an undeniable impact to the consumer’s desire and propensity to spend. Easter failed to see better results than last year, so the two upcoming May Bank holidays will become more important to promotional planning and H1 performance.
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