1. Online retail sales experience lowest ever July growth
Online retail sales growth slowed to 4.4% in July compared to a year ago, and fell by 5.7% compared to the previous month. This was the lowest ever July year on year sales increase, with the figure coming in well below the three- six-, and 12-month averages.
Clothing sales saw growth of 4.5%, but failed to match June’s high of 15.7%. After recording its strongest performance of the year in June, when sales were up 31.2%, menswear saw a significant slowdown in growth to just 10.4%. Meanwhile, accessories and womenswear were down 13.3% and 8.7% respectively.
Garden sales fell by 44.6%, compared to 22% growth last year, contributing to a low overall growth for home and garden of 5.4%. And with no FIFA World Cup to spark celebrations, beer, wine and spirits sales were down 19.7% compared to a strong performance last July of 32.9% growth.
Source: IMRG Capgemini
2. British shoppers leave £228m worth of products at click and collect
Shoppers have abandoned about £228m worth of products at click and collect sites across the UK during the last year, with many citing long queues and unstaffed collection points as the reason for not picking up their orders.
More than 70% of Brits shop via a click and collect system but 15% are neglecting to collect their items, with a third stating that picking up their order is a “hassle” and are instead opting for a refund or requesting a delivery.
Another 17% of shoppers say they struggle to find the right desk in-store to collect their products.
However, if services are improved, click and collect could boost the high street. Research estimates that 89% of retailers that offer click and collect have experienced a climb in footfall during the last two years.
Another 97% have benefited from additional revenue and 39% of consumers say they would visit shops to collect their items more frequently if the process was improved.
3. UK grocery spend recovers
Total supermarket sales grew 1% in the four weeks to 20 August after declining by 0.5% in July. Despite the minor growth, sales were still down from the 4.2% uplift during the same period last year.
During the four-week period, Brits have spent £85m more on own-label products than this time last year, with volumes rising by 3%. Branded products, meanwhile, declined by 2%.
When it comes to own-label, shoppers have bought more frozen foods (up 7%), canned and packaged grocery items (6%) and bakery products (5%).
Sainsbury’s experienced a 1.3% lift in sales during the four-week period and was the only supermarket in the big four to attract new shoppers. Marks & Spencer also experienced an uplift of 1.4%.
However, discounters have continued to show strong sales growth over the last 12 weeks, with Lidl experiencing 12.1% growth, while Aldi saw an uplift of 9.5%.
4. Marketers say automation is a key focus but many lack skills
Some 79% of marketers say digital transformation is a primary or secondary focus for their organisation, while 55% believe automation will allow people to add greater human value to an organisation in the future.
Despite this, 40% of employers say they lack the skills to enable them to make the best of automation technology and 53% cite a lack of skills from current staff as the biggest barrier to the implementation of automation.
In terms of the technical skills most lacking, 46% of marketing employers say they require digital project management skills to make automation a success, while 57% cite strategic marketing skills and 70% data analytics.
However, marketers aren’t receiving the training they need. While 63% say they are developing the technical skills needed themselves, only 34% are being supported by their employer. Likewise, 65% are trying to improve their soft skills but only 27% are receiving any kind of formal training or support.
Meanwhile, the areas within marketing already seeing the most investment in automation include scheduling communications (59%), social media and community management (51%) and content personalisation (37%).
Source: Hays Recruitment
5. Brits growing more conscious about how healthy their food and drinks
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of British consumers say they care more about how healthy their food and drinks are, compared to five years ago. This figure climbs to 64% of females but drops to 60% for males.
Some 40% of consumers say they base their perceptions of healthy food and drink on the product’s brand, while 22% say they base it on government advice, or feedback from their friends and family.
Additionally, only 13% say they use an app-based nutritionist, and just 4% seek advice from social media influencers.
The health agenda is continuing to gain momentum among British consumers and younger generations leading the way. Some 76% of 18 to 24-year olds say they care more, compared to only 59% of those older than 55.