Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Challenging times fail to dampen online UK retail sales in July, Wunderkind’s data shows

UK retailers’ online sales remained resilient, up +2.04% year-on-year in July, despite ongoing cost-of-living pressures and stiff competition from Amazon Prime Day discounting, the latest data from Wunderkind, the leading performance marketing solution that scales one-to-one messages for retailers and brands, reveals. 

Data from Wunderkind’s Marketing Pulse, which analysed over 258.3million shopper journeys, showed that, although July’s web revenues were down -8.42% compared to June – when the UK heatwave prompted a surge in online sales – from a year-on-year perspective, revenues were still up +2.04% in July. Meanwhile, web conversions were also positive year-on-year, rising by +53.5% compared to July 2022.

Amazon Prime Day steals a march on online retail

With consumers becoming increasingly price and promotions sensitive, recent research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Retail Insight shows that now 40% of UK shoppers will only make a purchase when an item is discounted or on offer.  And this ongoing price and promotions sensitivity helped make Amazon’s annual major discounting event, Prime Day, its largest ever.  The marketplace reported that, over the two Prime days (11 – 12 July), customers made £2billion in savings on deals.  However, it appears Amazon’s Prime Day gains had a knock-on impact elsewhere, as UK retailers saw a -15.29% week-on-week dip in total ecommerce revenues on Day 1 and a week-on-week downturn of -9.99% on Day 2 of Amazon Prime Day, according to Wunderkind’s Marketing Pulse data.

Consumer caution prompts considered buying behaviours

Turning the attention to web traffic, July 2023 saw a modest (+2.16%) increase in volume of visits to retailers’ sites compared to the preceding month of June.  However, compared to July 2022, the increase was much more marked – with traffic to retailer websites up +56.49% year-on-year, signalling that consumers are continuing to be ‘considered’ with purchasing and discretionary spend.  This is prompting more browsing before buying, as shoppers hunt to price-match, and compare discounts and offers available to ensure they get the best value for money.  And these longer purchase consideration and evaluation phases are evidenced in a recent Trustpilot poll, which found the average UK shopper now takes 30% longer to make a purchase than they did just 12 months ago.

“Despite a myriad of challenges – from ongoing cost-of-living pressures and record high interest rates and amid stiff competition from heavy discounting by Amazon during its Prime Day promotion – online retail sales remained buoyant last month,” Wulfric Light-Wilkinson, General Manager (International) of Wunderkind, commented.  “And whilst consumer spending has remained resilient, there’s little doubt that retailers and brands are having to work harder for each conversion and fight even harder to keep shopper loyalty once a customer has been acquired. In short, retailers are having to run faster just to stand still.  By doubling down on owned channel optimisation, retailers and brands can turn the tide on brand switching, by using personalisation at scale to drive the compelling and meaningful buying journeys that keep shoppers coming back.”