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January e-commerce sales fall to almost pre-pandemic levels

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: Online shopping via Pexels

The beginning of 2023 has proven to be a disappointment for e-commerce sales, with a decline that has largely been impacted by rising inflation in the UK and difficult trading conditions.

According to research by Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), e-commerce sales slowed by minus 2.2 percent YoY, presenting a negative-on-negative growth against the minus 22.5 percent in the same period last year.

There was also a sharp month-on-month (MoM) decline, with revenues dropping by 28.7 percent against December, which had previously seen numbers in the range of minus 17 to 21 percent between 2019 to 2021. The drop was sharper than what is typical for this time of year, IMRG noted.

Growth in traffic for retail platforms also declined for January, with a drop of 5.5 percent against the 7.7 percent in 2022.

Footwear on the rise

Specific product categories additionally showed signs of slipping, with gifts falling 16.1 percent, compared to 14.2 percent last year, while clothing experienced a 4.5 percent drop against a plus 0.9 percent YoY.

Footwear was one of the only sectors with positive-territory growth in the clothing subcategory, hitting plus 4.7 percent.

Meanwhile, inflation was evident in the total market average basket value, which had increased from 113 pounds in January 2022 to 130 pounds this year.

In a release, Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG noted that while the figures were disappointing, they were not entirely unexpected.

Mulcahy added: “Shopper confidence is the key however, if there are any notable improvements in the economic situation we should see that conversion rate nudge up again as people feel a bit more secure in their financial situation, so can spend out on more discretionary purchases. From January’s results however, it feels little way off yet.”