July experienced the slowest rise in any month this year of only 4.1%, compared to an impressive performance last month in June which saw the largest online visit rise of 7.5% year-to-date. This deceleration is particularly concerning when compared to the 6-7% growth rates seen between January to June.
Retailers most likely expected more from July. Britons were celebrating the World Cup at the beginning half of the month. Heatwaves across the country also saw more people take to the outdoors.
These conditions played well into the hands for some verticals. Clothing, Fitness and Footwear maintained a significant rise of 12.0% YoY. This was largely driven by the popularity of new fast fashion brands like Shein and PrettyLittleThing, and spiking demand for summer fashion items like “sandals”, “bikinis” and “shorts”.
In contrast, other verticals like House & Garden and Department Stores experienced larger drops than this time last year. Contending with the heat, consumers swapped out big-ticket items like beds and furniture for smaller quick fixes. Portable air conditioners and fans were hot in demand and featured amongst the top product searches in July.
Department Stores also battled against mid-summer sales, namely Prime Day, which clustered retail activity to only 36 hours mid-month. The event spurred on a more than 100% increases in Amazon devices on the site, other retailers managed to capitalise on the event too. Thanks to their counter campaigns, Currys saw a 35% rise in visits and a 58% rise in total purchases during Prime Day week-on-week.
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