Online shopping hits new highs as Christmas and lockdowns combine

Online shopping has positively exploded in recent months. The imposed lockdowns have forced even the tech-newbies to try out online shopping. It’s resulted in a 74.7% growth in online retail sales and has, according to some, killed the High Street’s revival stone dead.

According to the November retail sales estimates, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the High Street’s loss was online’s gain. Online sales spiked as early-bird Christmas shoppers, may locked down for a second time, hit the internet in record numbers. Shopping on their laptops, shopping on their phones.

The ONS figures show that e-commerce accounted for more than 31% of early Christmas spending as the High Street shut up shop once again in November.

It’s not just the online shopping experience that’s improved – it’s the tracking and the courier services involved. Despite the social distancing and parcels having to be delivered without contact, many now provide a photograph proving that the item has been delivered to you. They’ll also give you minute-by-minute tracking. The FedEx tracking on, as an example, lets you track your parcels live. It’ll also supply details for other couriers too, so you can see when you need to be at home. No more waiting in all day for a delivery.

During November the closure of non-essential stores across England for the second time this year caused the value of overall retail sales to fall back in November -4.1% compared to the previous month. This had a devastating impact on town centre stores’ sales but created record sales online, with more delivery vans delivering even more parcels across the land. People took to the likes of Amazon, eBay, Next, Very and other big-name online stores to do their shopping instead, with delivery usually quick and painless – no traffic, no parking charges and no hassle.

This is all great news for online retailers but it’s proved highly challenging for delivery partners. Some department stores saw a 157.2% increase in orders and the sheer volume of home deliveries has surprised many.

Those stores which weren’t geared up for online selling have sadly suffered, and we’ve seen the demise of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Debenhams and Topshop. Stores such as Peacocks, Jaeger and Burton have also collapsed as the retail landscape alters quickly.

There’s no doubt that our future, even after the pandemic is done, will rely more heavily on delivery services (like FedEx) and online shopping