Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Online retail stabilises to remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels

The UK ecommerce sector has stabilised and consolidated its pandemic growth, settling from the volatile peaks of the pandemic, but maintaining a significant level of growth compared to pre-pandemic times, according to referral engineering platform Mention Me.

Though online sales fell 28% in the first quarter of 2022, versus the same period last year, the ecommerce space is actually 11% up on where it was before the pandemic.  

Beauty is the top performing sector, growing 26% in Q1 2022 from Q1 2020, while online food & drink sales were up 20% and home & garden 9%. Interestingly, fashion was down 5.3%, but the sector did see conversions from referrals increase by 4%.

“Our figures suggest the market is stabilising after being rocked by volatility over the past two years,” said Simon Dring, Head of Retail Insights at Mention Me. “The eCommerce market is significantly bigger today than at the start of 2020; lockdown has permanently shifted both consumer habits and how brands operate and build advocacy.”

Compared to the beginning of 2021, the travel and hospitality sector has grown its sales by 45%, as Brits were able to book holidays confident in the knowledge that the UK no longer had restrictions in place, and other nations had relaxed theirs.

The financial services sector also witnessed strong year-on-year growth, with online orders up 59% and referrals increasing 20%. This is a strong indication of both people’s willingness to take advice from friends and family when it comes to their finances, and the rapid growth challenger brands within the sector.