Voice of the Employee

With the majority of lockdown measures still in place and schools not set to reopen for some time, new data from Fresh Relevance, the real-time personalisation and optimisation platform, has indicated that online toys and games retailers saw revenues increase by more than 400% in March and April, during which time households were following stay-at-home rules.

The findings, taken from a sample of 278 businesses within Fresh Relevance’s client base, reveal that on average, the online retail sector saw a sustained revenue increase in April, remaining at between 60% and 70% higher than it was at the beginning of March. This follows the sudden sales spike in the second half of March, in line with when the UK went into lockdown.

Whilst as a whole, online retail saw a significant rise in revenue across March and April, the median (which is up by only 16%) shows that this average sales increase has been greatly increased by some particular sub-verticals performing extremely well.

Alongside the toys and games category, a number of other retail verticals experienced sustained growth during April, as consumers continued to modify their lives to suit the home environment. Ecommerce businesses operating in the gifts sector, tobacco and vaping, food and drink, books and film, and the home and garden category all saw higher demand, and doubled their normal revenue. Similarly, the technology and sports, hobbies and pet supplies verticals experienced a rise in online sales during this time, with revenue up over 50% compared to the beginning of March.

The findings also highlight how the lockdown is continuing to have a mixed impact on online sales, as consumer purchasing priorities shift as the crisis progresses. For businesses operating in the jewellery and luxury space, office supplies, automotive and insurance and finance sectors, revenue has remained lower than at the start of March.

Mike Austin, CEO & co-founder of Fresh Relevance comments: “Whilst March brought a surge in panic buying across the UK as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and the country was put into lockdown, April saw consumers adjusting to new routines. With school holidays, the Easter long weekend and unseasonably warm weather all falling during the strict social distancing period, consumers have turned to online retailers to help meet their at-home needs during this time.

As we look at what comes next, now is the time for retailers to start planning, so they are well positioned to drive maximum value from their most effective marketing touchpoints. With a recession looming, consumers are likely to spend less, but they won’t stop shopping altogether. Thriving in a post-pandemic world will come down to being able to respond in real time to changing behaviours and finding ways to enhance the customer experience. The marketers that adapt quickly and have the right tools and strategies in place will be best positioned to make the most of the opportunities.”

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